February 4, 2011

A DANGEROUS AND EXPENSIVE EDUCATION FOR THE PRESIDENT: Egypt has Obama cautiously shifting worldview on democracy.

Shortly after taking office, President Obama traveled to Cairo to declare a new day in U.S. relations with the Muslim world – saying there was “no straight line” to building democratic societies in the Middle East.

The June 2009 address was in part intended to show a clean break from a George W. Bush-era “freedom agenda” of promoting electoral democracies across the region. Yet Obama now finds himself forced to move much closer to that world view as he escalates pressure on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to make immediate changes.

But what opportunities were missed? Related: “How can it be that Bush’s America understood the problem of repression in the Arab world, but Obama’s America ignored it until last week?”

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