TankEgyptGetty
by Patrick Appel

Marc Lynch praises the Obama administration for their handling of Egypt:

 It's crucial to understand that the United States is not the key driver of the Egyptian protest movement.  They do not need or want American leadership -- and they most certainly are not interested in "vindicating" Bush's freedom agenda or the Iraq war, an idea which almost all would find somewhere between laughable, bewildering, and deeply offensive.   Suspicion of American intentions runs deep, as does folk wisdom about decades of U.S. collaboration with Mubarak.  They are not really parsing Hilary Clinton's adjectives. Their protest has a dynamic and energy of its own, and while they certainly want Obama to take their side forcefully and unequivocally they don't need it. 

What they do need, if they think about it, is for Obama to help broker an endgame from the top down --- to impose restraints on the  Egyptian military's use of violence to repress protests, to force it to get the internet and mobile phones back online, to convince the military and others within the regime's inner circle to ease Mubarak out of power, and to try to ensure that whatever replaces Mubarak commits to a rapid and smooth transition to civilian, democratic rule. And that's what the administration is doing.  

(Photo: Egyptians take cover behind a tank as police open fire on a crowd in the roads around the central Tahrir square in downtown Cairo on January 29, 2011. By Marco Longari/AFP/Getty Images)

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.