There is a surprising – and shocking – lack of respect for the rule of nations in many of the remarks in the comment stream. America simply can not go halfway around the world and impose its will on a legitmate country undergoing an internal crisis.
That’s called an invasion, not revolutionary assistance. And despite the fact that Reagan did in Grenada, both Bushes did, and that Barack has continued the war in Afghanistan, it is simple one note thinking to believe America can fix what’s broken in the regions of the world through bluster and fear.
For those who have accused the President of doing nothing (“fiddling while Cairo burns”), they conveniently omit what they would have him do. Blaming Obama does not solve the problem, help the Egyptian people, or stabilize the transition of state power in Egypt.
Blaming Obama is an American past-time that warps reality to reflect personal views about him that have nothing to do with the objective conditions on the ground in Egypt or elsewhere.
Does anyone think the British are blaming their prime minister, or the Chinese, the Italians, the French, or the Soviets or Saudis, all of whom are effected by changes in Egypt?
There seems to be too many delusions about American power. Patience is the proper course while Egypt works through its own issues. Our interference, whether sending the Navy to the gulf, or speaking out to substitute our views for the will of the people of Egypt on many levels would only make things worse. What we are seeing with President Obama is a latent anger that is expressed as a new class of denial. It’s a denial that denies it is denying. It calls for him to do things that we don’t want him to do. But either way, he is to be blamed.
Many of the key relationships of statecraft are inverse; a move in one direction actually has the opposite effect. Like backing up a car, turning the wheel to the right moves the car to the left. But inverse relationships defy the common sense of our culture and experiences. We think in direct terms. That’s why sound bites build on fallacies have such tenacity and staying power.
So while some blame Obama for every crisis – or its mismanagement – here’s a direct axiom to be remembered. This is an international world, and we share it; we don’t rule it.
It’s amazing, and Egypt reminds us, that the most profound expressions of liberty and freedom are found in simple acts. Standing up and gathering in free assembly. Adding a personal voice to the collective voices of a people calling for freedom. Experiencing the bravery of facing the unknown. Turning aside fear to find the courage to face death for your beliefs while finding exhilaration in new hope. The acceptance from hand to hand of shared food and drink. The soaring feeling of safety in the face of military fire power.
It is equally amazing that every political leader opposed to progress and freedom has coined the same, tired, transparent reasons. They cite their job descriptions as the reason for the exercise of power without addressing its excesses. They frame repression as a patriotic reaction to “threats” to the “security” of the state.
They put into play a governance model which leads to clashes of public illogic. They sound warnings against the truth, keeping the people disorganized by appealing to their fears and consolidating their power. In times of intense conflict, the truth is always the first causality. Its fall spins and grasps cliches.
But the Egyptian people are resisting and in simple ways, standing steadfast, invite the world and their fellows to join with them. Like one large family, they have turned to each other and reclaimed the small ways. Their claims makes their leaders look foolish if they react with force to the “threat” of peace. Their claims make their grievances clear and reveal the government’s deaf ear.
Mubarak and the current leaders are tone deaf. Their sincerity vanishes; their only “truth” becomes accusing those on the side of freedom that they are wrong. Their dire predictions become self-fulfilling; they drive the nails in the end of their existence.
Even now there are reports American officials had to bribe Egyptian officials to release the planes sent to pick American citizens. The disappearance and reappearance of the police was clearly contrived. The outrage of blaming Al Jazeera for the internal confrontations laughingly weakens any claim the government has to legitmacy – especially, if they can be brought down by a small group of reporters broadcasting on TV. Rats scurry in the light.
As Mubarak leaves, may he find comfort in the words of his religion rather in his power or his personal will: may God be with him and may he go in peace.