From Thursday’s New York Times: “President Obama ordered his advisers last August to produce a secret report on unrest in the Arab world, which concluded that without sweeping political changes, countries from Bahrain to Yemen were ripe for popular revolt, administration officials said Wednesday.
“Mr. Obama’s order, known as a Presidential Study Directive, identified likely flashpoints, most notably Egypt, and solicited proposals for how the administration could push for political change in countries with autocratic rulers who are also valuable allies of the United States, these officials said.”
The 18-page-report tangled with how America seeks to balance its foreign policy abroad — putting its strategic interests in sometimes conflict with democratic instability.
Officials told the Times that Obama’s support for the crowds in Cairo “reflected his belief that there was a greater risk in not pushing for changes because Arab leaders would have to resort to ever more brutal methods to keep the lid on dissent.”
“There’s no question Egypt was very much on the mind of the president,” said a senior official to the Times. “You had all the unknowns created by Egypt’s succession picture — and Egypt is the anchor of the region.”