It looked for awhile as if the Obama administration was going to side with the demonstraters in demanding that Hosni Mubarak resign, and there was even a unanimous resolution out of the US Senate to this effect. But the administration has been backtracking since, appearing to support maintaining Mubarak in power for some unspecified transition period, even as the street demonstrations increase in size. Are they channeling the Glenn Beck-Sarah Palin line that if Mubarak goes, Egypt will go radically Islamist and we will end up with a radical Caliphate from Mauretania to the Philippines?
This is more mysterious given that a bipartisan Working Group on Egypt was formed last spring, with members ranging from Human Rights Watch member, Tom Malinowski, to former Bush official and neocon, Elliott Abrams, which has been warning that there would be a popular uprising in Egypt against the regime and that the US needed to support this movement. Instead, the administration cut funding for the Endowment for Democracy, which had been developing links with the secular, democratic opposition, and essentially looked the other way at the time of the seriously rigged Egyptian election in November.
Now we know that Israeli leaders very much want Mubarak to stay, as well as the Saudis and Jordanians and some other neighbors, but it is seriously unclear who in the administration it is who is getting to Obama to push a line that seems both morally wrong and politically/diplomatically stupid. Is it the State Department, the CIA, the US military, some or all of the above? Whoever it is, this seems to be a serious mistake on Obama's part, the sooner undone, the better.