Egypt: U.S. playing safe as events unfold in Arab world

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The United States has expressed concern over the handling of post Hosni Mubarak-Egypt by the Egyptian military. Following the suspension of the constitution and the dismissal of the parliament by the military, U.S. Secretary of State has engaged regional and global leaders from India, UAE, Greece, EU, U.K., and Palestine to gain a shared perspective on Egypt, recent developments and a way forward for the Northern African country.

The Obama administration is expected to continue its diplomatic, non-bullish involvement in events in the Arab world by engaging other world leaders in its decisions and plans for the Arab world.

To this regard, Clinton made calls to Greek Prime Minister Georges Papandreou, Indian Foreign Minister SM Krishna, United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, chief European Union diplomat Catherine Ashton, British Foreign Secretary William Hague, and Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas.

The Obama administration is walking a fine line in the Middle East by continuing to support calls for democracy while avoiding losing its allies.

Having little or no influence over events in Egypt and in the rest of the Arab world now that a wave of popular revolt is spreading like wildfire throughout the region, the Obama administration would however continue supporting calls for democracy while avoiding isolating important allies.

According to Bruce Reidel, analysts with the Brookings Institution and a former CIA officer who advised three US presidents on the Middle East and Central Asia, as reported by AP:

“Tunis was a shockwave. Cairo will be the tsunami and every autocrat in the Arab world and the autocrats in (non-Arab) Iran will now have to worry what this means for their future. The problem for the United States is we really have very little influence over that.”

“The genie is out of the box and the smart play now is to try to keep up with history, not hold it back, but not try to get too far in front of it either.”

Reidel believes that the Obama administration is not out of the woods on Egypt yet by any means. He added that the revolution in Egypt is the Obama administration’s “first significant foreign policy crisis.”

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