The president just said he told Hosni Mubarak he needed to move toward reforms and address grievances. One might say that it was the most prudent possible statement, as it neither seemed to be an effort to force change nor anything that could be read as an effort to stand in the way of change. Prudence in the midst of a complex foreign crisis is always desirable, but in no way does one have the sense that this administration has the foggiest idea what it should do. This is the cost of lacking an overarching sense of the world’s ideological structure apart from the notion that the ability to form new relationships with problematic nations resides in the president’s own DNA and upbringing.
Oh, and there’s reason to doubt the president’s claim that he has been pushing Mubarak toward reform. Wasn’t the animating principle of his foreign policy in the early going that the United States should not play so paternalistic and intrusive a role?