today in Tahrir Square, "Egyptian people greet selves as liberators"*
While the victory of the Egyptian people is a major problem for authoritarian governments throughout the Middle East, it's a bonanza for virtually everyone else, one which could be world-changing: Last night I heard Ayman Mohyeldin, speaking on Rachel Maddow's show (before the announcement of the resignation of Mubarak), say that their success was Osama Bin Laden's worst nightmare:
It might take a day or two or a week or two. They have already won. But this scene of winning peacefully the way they have, this is Bin Laden's nightmare. What we're seeing here is Bin Laden's nightmare.
If the Egyptian protests are copied elsewhere, and successfully, it would not only put Bin Laden out of work, it would put an end to his and others' hopes for the world governed by Sharia law which they envision.
And President Obama couldn't see that? Actually, he may still not see it.
I propose that even now the Egyptian Revolution may be viewed by our own government as a disaster, regardless of the tardy words of support and congratulation coming from Washington. Mohamed ElBaradei, in an Op-Ed piece published in today's New York Times, also before Mubarak's resignation, makes this comparison:
The United States and its allies have spent the better part of the last decade, at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars and countless lives, fighting wars to establish democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now that the youth of Cairo, armed with nothing but Facebook and the power of their convictions, have drawn millions into the street to demand a true Egyptian democracy, it would be absurd to continue to tacitly endorse the rule of a regime that has lost its own people's trust.
The Americans in possession of enormous power and access to the ordinary taxpayer's money (or mortgaged futures) did not engage in these foreign wars in order to bring about the kind of world which the peaceful and triumphant Egyptians are about to carve for themselves after over half a century of military dictatorship and heroic exertions over the past weeks. It's hard to imagine even the least astute of our dull politicos having any illusions about the efficacy of Imperial American war policies in planting freedom and democracy by force and intimidation.
I'm often tempted to think of almost all of our post-war foreign policy as just a game played by boys who never grew up, but it's probably more useful to understand it as the work of a military industrial and media complex, in it for the money and the power; its lip service to freedom and democracy was always cant, and talk of a communist, and later a fundamentalist threat, only a cover.
May the Egyptians now safely secure the awesome accomplishment of popular revolution - and incidentally save Americans from themselves.
The phrase in quotes was tweeted by David Waldman today, in negative tribute to Dick Cheney's 2003 prediction that the Iraqis would welcome us with open arms and greet us with flowers (or some such words) when we invaded their country.
[image (uncredited on the site) from Huffington Post]