Two short notes, both about speeches, in lieu of a big in-depth exegesis of today by someone actually qualified to write about it:
Obama’s speech about What’s Been Going Down all day was sort of painful to watch: here’s a guy who has to go in front of cameras and sell a position that is A) the only position the United States can possibly take and B) maybe the least attractive position that exists. The position is “well we support civil dissent and will negotiate with whoever ends up in charge of Egypt but heh heh we’d really prefer if the guy who’s been there for 30 years, and in whom we have invested all kinds of money and favors and diplomacy, and on whom we partially rely to support our interests in the region, remain in power, even though we know nobody else wants that and it sounds really shitty”. Obama did his best and still looked like an equivocating compromising un-idealistic realpolitiker at the mercy of history, which of course he is, God bless him.
Mubarak’s speech, meanwhile, sounded like he’d been sitting inside all day crossing his fingers that the Egyptian army would kill the riots so that he could write a badass speech from a position of power, and ended up having to fall back to a position of bizarre tolerant populism after the protesters and the soldiers seemed to get along fine. The speech was almost a plea, and I doubt it’ll be answered.