Hamid Dabashi at CNN:
Long before the demise of Mubarak, Obama should have recognized the historic importance of what was happening in Egypt and directly addressed the Egyptian people — acknowledging their democratic will to be free, sharing their dream for emancipation from a politics of deception and despair and anticipating the spread of that dream to other parts of the region. He should have committed his administration not to wait for the fall of the next dictator before Americans extend their hands in solidarity with a transnational uprising to achieve a better world.
Mubarak is now lost in ignominy in history. But what will American children read in their history books a decade or a century from now? How will Obama, once seen as a visionary statesman, be viewed?
When he received the Nobel Peace Prize at the outset of his presidency, I was among those who said publicly that he deserved it. So early in his career as a president, he had not done anything meaningful to lend credence to that honor. But I thought he had awakened a sense of pride, purpose and dignity among the younger generation of Americans that would commit them to contribute greatly to humanity at large. In the events of the past month in Tunisia and Cairo, he has had a gift from history to justify the prize after the fact — but alas he did very little to show he deserved it.