A Photo From the Last Calm Moments of the Egyptian Protests:
That's a photo from late last night in Tahrir Square in Cairo. The gathered thousands and thousands of people stopped their protest and their lynchings of Mubarak effigies and paused to watch President Barack Obama tell the world that "an orderly transition [of power] must be meaningful, it must be peaceful, and it must begin now."
He was threading a diplomatic needle, in a way, standing with the protesters while still allowing Mubarak some unnecessary dignity, trying, as Obama does so very often, to have his cake without admitting that he likes cake so no one can accuse him of being a cake eater. What did it mean, the transition that starts now? Does it last until September, when Mubarak says he won't stand for reelection? Does it last a couple of days? Christ, it would have been so easy for Obama to explicitly say that Mubarak must step down. It would have electrified the citizens, the people on the street, all over the Middle East, in Egypt, in Jordan, in Yemen.
It didn't matter; the old dictator told the young president to go fuck himself. Egypt's foreign minister rejected Obama's statement. And, of course, he blamed the West for the violence that is now occurring in Cairo.
Now, with the government ordering the protests to end, the Rude Pundit is thinking about when he was in a hotel room in Houston over 20 years ago, watching the crushing conclusion of the Tiananmen Square demonstrations. And he's thinking, as perhaps those people in the picture up there, "Not again, not again, not again."