Prime Minister David Cameron, President Nicolas Sarkozy and Chancellor Angela Merkel issued a joint UK-France-Germany statement on the situation in Egypt:
We urge President Mubarak to embark on a process of transformation which should be reflected in a broad-based government and in free and fair elections."
Of course, the NYT finds a negative angle to report on this: "The statement by Mrs. Merkel, Mr. Sarkozy and Mr. Cameron exposes the lack of any coherent and united response by the European Union as a whole, even though under the Lisbon Treaty of 2009, its reaction to major events was intended to be swifter and united."
Well, the EU foreign minister did produce a united response yesterday calling for a peaceful, orderly and democratic transition. The problem is not the lack of unity, but the fact that we don't have something meaningful to say.
As Jose Ignacio Torreblanca points out in the European Council on Foreign Relations' blog:
For too long, people have demanded the EU to speak with one voice. But this is an unfair criticism: we do speak with one voice, or at least we do it sufficiently often. In fact, the EU produces so many statements than it simply floods the market. The problem is that in these statements we say very little, or that what we say is completely irrelevant. So, our problem is not speaking, but people listening, which actually requires having something to say.
His colleague Daniel Korski calls for a bolder EU policy: "These are the real birth pangs of a new Middle East. Time for Europe to don a midwife's uniform."
Finally, Europe has worried about what revolutions - and even democracy - in the Middle East would bring. The cases of, respectively, Iran and Algeria have served as warnings from history. But today's demonstrations are different. For now, at least, they are secular, broad-based, and economically-motivated. For lack of a better word, they are Western. If they fail now, in part because European governments prevaricated, then they may of course happen again, as the region's rulers fail once more to make the necessary reforms. But if the history of revolutionary movements is any guide, the liberal, pro-democracy activists will soon be replaced by the hard men of the Muslim Brotherhood. The next set of revolutions will not be so benign in intent. Think Iran, not Tunisia.
For these reason it is time for the EU to do what it did so well in Spain and Portugal - when even the US was worried about the speed of change - and what it learnt from its work more recently in Pakistan: namely, to act as a midwife of democratic change.
Korski opines "A bet on democracy looks safer and safer by the day," while at the same time reminding us "Revolutions oftentimes turn against the very ideals for which they have been fought."
Barry Rubin, however, focuses on the negative in the Christian Science Monitor: "Obama must back Egypt's regime, or face a disaster like US did in Iran"
There is no good policy for the United States regarding the uprising in Egypt, but the Obama administration may be adopting something close to the worst option. It seems to be adopting a policy that, while somewhat balanced, is pushing the Egyptian regime out of power. That situation could not be more dangerous and might be the biggest disaster for the region and Western interests since the Iranian revolution three decades ago.
Meanwhile Gillian Kennedy argues in atlantic-community.org: "Don't be Afraid of Egypt's Muslim Brothers"
The blog No Blood 4 Sauerkraut! (in German), one of Germany's strongest supporters of the Iraq war, has a whole series on "Bush is back" and assumes that the former president is looking like this – photoshopped?