- By Thomas E. RicksThomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008.
If you were sitting around my office on Tuesday morning, sipping your third cup, this is what you would have heard. My officemate, Robert Kaplan, and I were chatting about my blog item on Monday about me concluding that President Obama did pretty well in Egypt. I said to Bob, yeah, in sum I’d give the president a B+. Bob said no, really more an A-. His reasoned thusly:
President Obama has thus far handled the crisis in Egypt rather well. He has been attacked in some quarters for a muddled response. But what is forgotten is that he had to accomplish two contradictory things, which automatically necessitate a degree of muddle. For one thing, he had to be on the right side of history, with the democracy demonstrators in Tahrir Square. But he also had to signal to pro-American monarchs and autocrats in other Arab countries that he was not about to desert them. And that meant not throwing Mubarak overboard too soon. Rulers like King Abdullah in Jordan and Sultan Qabus in Oman are, in fact, enlightened and moderate autocrats who deserve America’s support, even as they are critical regional allies. The Saudi royals are less enlightened, but protect the Western world’s oil supply. We do not want to be party to any of these regimes crumbling because of the combination of street protests and perceived lack of U. S. support. Obama’s cerebral, cautious response was exactly what was called for.
And then off we went to a meeting. I used to hate meetings — it was one reason I stopped editing in newspapers and went back to reporting. But they tend to be kind of fun at CNAS. As long as I keep them to one or two a week.
Uri Friedman is deputy managing editor at Foreign Policy. Before joining FP, he reported for the Christian Science Monitor, worked on corporate strategy for Atlantic Media, helped launch the Atlantic Wire, and covered international affairs for the site. A proud native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he studied European history at the University of Pennsylvania and has lived in Barcelona, Spain and Geneva, Switzerland.| Passport |
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C.| The Cable |