One of the issues raised in the run-up to our last presidential election was the question “Which candidate is best qualified to handle a ‘3 AM moment’?” America now has a partial answer. It isn’t President Obama.
Last Friday was Day 4 of the ongoing protests in Egypt, where tens of thousands Egyptians took to the streets to demand the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. As the situation reached a flash point, with a mounting death toll and Egyptian tanks in the streets of Cairo, President Obama maintained his silence. Well, not quite. He did Twitter, by proxy.
Around noon Friday, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs issued a 22 word statement on Twitter: “Very concerned about violence in Egypt – government must respect the rights of the Egyptian people & turn on social networking and internet.” The White House also informed the media that Obama had received a 40 minute briefing on the situation. Phew!
After the U.S. markets tanked Friday, a full 4 days after the beginning of the Egyptian crisis, Obama finally addressed the nation. As usual, our president first absolved himself of any blame, stating that if only Egypt has instituted the reforms Obama had been suggesting for the last 2 years, the crisis could have been averted. He then went on to make a bold statement about human rights, “…and the US will stand up for them – everywhere.” Period.
By Saturday, the uprising in Egypt had spread to other countries, with waves of Arab protests in Tunisia, Jordan and Yemen. Saturday night, Obama partied. “The Washington A-List was out in force Saturday night at the farewell party for senior adviser David Axelrod, with a roster of guests featuring Cabinet secretaries, big shot journos and Obama.”
On Sunday, with the protests turning into a conflagration, the only word from the White House was that Hillary Clinton, our Secretary of State, was heading to Haiti to “mediate the political crisis.” That’s right, Haiti.
Meanwhile, the only information available to Americans comes from talking heads and the few journalists not hung-over from Saturday’s rollicking good time at the White House. The only “official” information so far from the White House was Joe Biden’s statement on Day 3 of the protests. Joe said that President Hosni Mubarak should not step down. He then proceeded to downplay the protests spreading across the Mid East as generally unconnected.
The world is left wondering what position America, the world’s former superpower, will take. The only stance our administration has taken to date is a generic plea for an end to the violence and the oft-repeated call for human rights. Meanwhile, the world teeters on the brink as a global crisis with profound geopolitical implications for the U.S. continues to unfold.
Obama’s 3 am moment has come. And gone. Obama was noticeably AWOL. America is now officially bereft of leadership, at least until the latest polls come in.
Under Obama’s leadership, the US has voluntarily ceded its authority as the world’s super power. After all, according to Obama, all countries and cultures are equal. America’s voice should be but one of many. This is now becoming a reality. Egypt continues to burn. And Obama parties and Twitters by proxy. Welcome to the new world order.