As long as the general population is passive, apathetic, diverted to consumerism or hatred of the vulnerable, then the powerful can do as they please, and those who survive will be left to contemplate the outcome.
Memo to Obama: Since your intelligence people didn't tell you, let me fill you in on why, by simply staying in the streets, the Egyptian people were able to topple a tyrant with 30 years seniority, sweeping him into the dustbin of history.
Egyptians deserve speedy and easy visibility on how democracy will be instituted. The U.S. has to be very careful not to be associated with the Egyptian military, but instead with the democratic forces that hopefully will take power.
The administration has been shaken. Officials are undoubtedly worried about a domestic political future in which the question could be -- who lost the Middle East? Like the Cheshire Cat's grin, only the rhetoric of the last decades seems to be left.
Let's not repeat the failure of nerve we showed in the past with Tiananmen Square as we respond to the democratic aspirations of those in Tahrir Square. As the world watches, the administration's window of opportunity is closing quickly.
Deemphasizing democracy rhetoric was a reasonable strategy for the Obama administration as it allowed them to differentiate their administration from Bush's. The problem is, it also gave the appearance that the U.S. was casting its lot with the authoritarians.