WASHINGTON — A top White House foreign policy official rejected the notion that President Obama was caught flat-footed by the protests coursing through the Middle East, though he conceded that the speed with which old regimes collapsed came as a surprise.
Dennis Ross, a staff member on the National Security Council, told a conference hosted by the liberal pro-Israeli lobbying group known as J Street that the turmoil in Arab states illustrates that governments can no longer survive by repressing populations demanding change.One reason we can assume Obama was never in the know about Egypt is that he isn't even in the know about J Street. (A "pro-Israeli lobbying group"? Well, yes. But only if by "pro-Israeli" you mean "anti-Zionist.")
The Obama administration has been pressing this point since taking office, Ross said, telling Egyptian leaders they needed "to open their political system.''
That didn't happen.
"Unfortunately, the Mubarak government chose not to heed those warnings, just as they did not recognize the magnitude of what was about to befall them,'' Ross said...