Nightly News | February 16, 2011
>> thanks. the question is how does the u.s. respond to what is going on across the middle east where no two of these circumstances is alike. our chief foreign affairs correspondent, andrea mitchell , in our washington newsroom tonight. andrea, you heard richard say it. something like this never happened in the middle east before now.
>> reporter: it's unprecedented. it is amazing. the u.s. is now trying to respond to the dizzying pace of change in the region, but, brian, it is not an easy adjustment. there has been criticism that the administration was slow to recognize the strength of the protest movement in egypt. and for a while, it sent out mixed messages out of concern for what it thought was stability and perhaps misplaced loyalty to other arabs. u.s. officials say they have consistently been pressing even their closest allies to reform but they were constrained by strategic alliances. now they are telling governments in bahrain and jordan that small reforms will no longer be credible and they will be vulnerable too until their young, educated and jobless population see real progress. their approach, though, is very different in iran. unlike the administration's ambivalence during the green revolution you saw in richard's spot back in 2009 , this week president obama strongly supported the dissidents and accused the regime for hypocrisy. the administration has also tried to work around iran's internet restrictions and launch twitter feeds to help the dis dissiden dissidents. they don't expect regime change but they think the protest could undermine it.
>> andrea, thanks.