A lot of folks now see Barack Obama as something of a wind bag. He talks a good game but consistently fails to deliver. There seems to be a real timidity to him, one that congressional Republicans have regularly exploited.
The Obama Syndrome seems to be fully in play as the president freezes up over the Egyptian uprising and Hosni Mubarak. It seems that the American administration is only outdone by Israel's in dummying up on the problem. Israel has good reason to lay low and anxiously wait to see how it all turns out. But the United States, Egypt's biggest benefactor?
It's been reported out of Washington that Obama spoke with Mubarak and told him he had to come through with the democratic reforms he promised on state television today. Of course if Mubarak did that, he would be writing his own marching orders. The last thing he can do is to hold fair and open elections. Surely Obama must realize that. Maybe Obama hopes that Mubarak can wait this out.
There is one alternative scenario. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the Egyptian military's chief of staff and Mubarak's defence minister has been in Washington and cut short his planned visit today to fly back to Cairo. It is entirely conceivable that the White House knows what the army's commander has in mind about supporting or opposing Mubarak. Could the American silence be in anticipation of a coup? Or is it just Obama refusing to come to grips with yet another problem?