The Administration's Strategy

by Patrick Appel

Marc Lynch insists that the Obama administration hasn't given up on political reform in Egypt:

Despite the rapid consensus that Suleiman has been designated as America's man in this process, any acceptance of his role is likely by default rather than design.  The administration clearly does not want to allow Suleiman and Mubarak to revert to the status quo ante, or to consolidate a new nakedly military regime. 

Nobody in the administration has any illusions about Suleiman's likely intentions to revert to the old familiar games of the Egyptian national security state:  dividing and co-opting the opposition, selective repression, stoking fears of Islamists, playing for time while evoking a desire for normalcy, offering token reforms which can either be retracted down the road or emptied of meaning, and protecting the core perogoatives of the regime.   The Egyptian military seems to have a winning game plan, and it doesn't include the fundamental reforms for which Egyptian protestors or the Obama administration have called. 

He goes on to list the "ways to communicate that there is real muscle behind the words of 'unacceptable,' before those words fade into easily ignored background noise."