News / USA

Analysts: Obama Has Political Stake In Egypt Crisis

President Barack Obama is briefed on the events in Egypt during a meeting with his national security team in the Situation Room of the White House.
President Barack Obama is briefed on the events in Egypt during a meeting with his national security team in the Situation Room of the White House.

This past week’s events in Egypt have dominated U.S. domestic news media coverage and pushed domestic politics into the background for most Americans.  The Egyptian crisis presents President Barack Obama with a major foreign policy challenge, and experts say how he handles it could have an impact on his own re-election prospects in 2012.  

For his first two years in office, President Obama was squarely focused on domestic issues.  But events in Egypt continue to dominate the administration’s agenda.

On Friday, following a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, President Obama renewed his call for a peaceful political transition in Egypt. "The only thing that will work is moving an orderly transition process that begins right now, that engages all the parties, that leads to democratic practices, fair and free elections, a representative government that is responsive to the grievances of the Egyptian people," he said.

For the most part, congressional Republicans have said little about the president’s handling of the crisis, and seem in general agreement with the administration’s approach of encouraging a peaceful transition of power in Egypt.

Some potential Republican presidential candidates have been a bit more critical, especially former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty.

Others have been supportive, including Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels who spoke with VOA’s Kane Farabaugh. "They have approached it with proper caution and proper modesty and watchful waiting, while speaking up for principles of democracy, and it is what the United States probably should be doing," he said.

Others have offered a mix of criticism and praise, including former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who is expected to mount another presidential campaign in 2012.  Romney spoke to ABC’s Good Morning America, saying, "Well, I think they got off to a rocky start.  I think some of the statements early on were misguided, but I think they have corrected, and they have said they want to see transition, and I think that’s right."

Political analysts acknowledge it is too early for most voters to form an impression of how President Obama has handled the Egyptian crisis.

Analyst Rhodes Cook says the domestic economy remains the crucial factor for voters looking ahead to the presidential election in 2012.  But Cook says voters expect their president to be able to deal with foreign policy challenges when they arise.

"Some presidents deal with them well and some do not.  It will have, I think, an effect on his positioning as we move forward in the next few months for the 2012 election.  But probably, overall, it will be the economy and the state of the economy as we head toward the 2012 Election Day that is ultimately determinant in whether he wins a second term or not," he said.

U.S. presidential elections are generally determined by the state of the domestic economy.  But Rhodes Cook says there are times when a foreign policy crisis has played a major role in the outcome.

President Jimmy Carter lost his bid for a second term in 1980, in part because Americans lost faith in his ability to cope with the Iranian hostage crisis that began the previous year.

"It was one of the few times over the last quarter-century, or third of a century, when foreign policy actually helped decide an election.  In this case, it may not decide the election, but it will shape the view of both President Obama and of the Republican opposition," said Cook.

Cook says that while U.S. voters may not pay close attention to the details of the political turmoil in Egypt, they probably will form an opinion as to how the president handled the crisis, and that will shape their view of Mr. Obama as a leader. "I think, ultimately, it comes down to a situation, when you are running for re-election, do you look like you are controlling events, or does it look like events are controlling you?  So, we will get more of a sense of that as this crisis unfolds over the next few days and weeks," he said.

For the moment, U.S. coverage of the Egyptian crisis has pushed other domestic stories to the background, including a looming showdown between the president and congressional Republicans over  deep cuts in federal spending.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs