Middle East violence puts foreign policy at center of U.S. politics

This thread is for any comments related to this week’s assassination of Christopher Stephens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and the violent protests at the U.S. embassy in Egypt. Here’s a timeline of events and statements from various officials and politicians. The diplomatic community is mourning Stephens, who became the eighth U.S. ambassador killed in the line of duty since 1950. There were some pro-American and anti-terrorism rallies in Libya on September 12. The U.S. has warships en route to Libya and is tightening security at embassies around the world.

Yesterday several commentators lambasted Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney for bungling his “3 a.m. phone call” moment. While events were unfolding in the Middle East, Romney criticized the Obama administration’s handling of the incidents. As Matt Vasilogambros reported here, the facts do not support Romney’s claim that the president’s “first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.” President Barack Obama told CBS correspondent Steve Kroft, “Governor Romney seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later. And as president, one of the things I’ve learned is you can’t do that.”

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Weekend open thread: Mubarak resigns edition

Putting up the weekend open thread early in case Bleeding Heartland readers want to talk about the momentous news out of Egypt. After Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak didn’t step down as anticipated yesterday, I thought he was heading for a Ceausescu endgame. However, today Mubarak handed power over to the military, ending 30 years in control of Egypt. On paper, Mubarak is one of the richest men in the world, but it’s not clear how much of that wealth is accessible to him; Switzerland has already frozen his accounts.

President Barack Obama sent Mubarak a fairly clear signal yesterday that it was time to go. I posted the full text of Obama’s speech today after the jump. I expect that for now Egypt will remain one of the top U.S. foreign aid recipients.

This is an open thread–all topics welcome.

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