A Plea For Humility


by Patrick Appel

Gregory Djerejian delivers one:

We have seen the usual suspects gripe and moan that ‘we should have supported Person X more’, or ‘Who Lost Egypt?’, or still, ‘See, Bush was Right!’, and so on. This is mostly clap-trap from journalistic, think-tank and other like-situated congeries busily settling old grudges and trotting out tired stereotyped narratives that, worth noting, tend to grossly overstate the impact the U.S. can or cannot really have amidst fast-moving historical currents.

The bottom line is events underway in Egypt are epochal and manifestly of gigantic implication, bigger than any one Administration, or whether we prodded Mubarak the right amount on say the Ayman Nour issue a few years back (as Nour himself noted from jail during the entire Condoleezza Rice ‘will she, won’t she' saga: “I pay the price when [Rice] speaks [of me], and I pay the price when she doesn't”), and regardless, certainly bigger than increasingly discredited mastheads ascribing blame for perceived missteps, by say, a heartlessly overly 'realist' Obama.

The bottom line is that history is in the making, and it is being made by Egyptians, in the main, and more quickly than we likely realize now. Put simply, we have less power to influence events than some of us might hope, and more should reckon with this reality, as well somewhat related, the edict: 'first, do no harm'. 

(Photo: A young Egyptian anti-government demonstrator flashes victory signs as a stone battle rages between fellow demonstrators and pro-regime opponents at Cairo's Tahrir Square on February 3, 2011 on the 10th day of protests calling for the ouster of embattled President Hosni Mubarak. By Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images)