Sometimes Things Don’t Unfold According To Plans


Image by chbrenchley via Flickr

I have been looking forward to the House tackling a budget because I am hoping it will force the GOP to back up their promise for drastic cuts with some concrete details.  I am sure that conservatives have been looking forward to it as well.  They are likely seeing it as another opportunity to focus on cutting government spending.  They get to haul out all of their old canards about how terrible the Democrats are in general and how terrible Obama is in particular.

The only problem with their plan has been an unfortunate coincidence.  While they are posturing over the budget, Middle Eastern nations are undergoing a potential revolution.  The overthrow of the government in Egypt has eclipsed the budget in the news. Actual history-in-the-making trumps political posturing.

The spreading revolution reminds me of the crumbling of the Soviet empire.  People power is spreading from country to country.  I am not predicting that this will turn out as significantly or well as the fall of the Soviet Union, but it is similar in the way it has organically grown.  These regime changes were not sparked by CIA plots or military invasions.

Consider the comparison between the fall of Hosni Mubarak and Saddam Hussain. Both fell rather quickly, but only one of those events cost the U.S. a lot of money. Only one of those smelled of imperialism. After Hussain fell, we have had to continue to meddle in order to achieve our true objective.  We enjoyed deposing Hussain, but more importantly we want the new Iraq to be friendly to the U.S. There is no guarantee that the new Egypt will be friendly to the U.S. There is no guarantee that the new Iraq will be friendly to the U.S. It will be fascinating to track these two cases and make a comparison.

Getting back to the Soviet Union: I’m not sure how “friendly” I would say Russia has been to the U.S. since the fall of the Soviet Union.  Americans tend to credit Reagan for the fall of the Soviet Union. I suspect this appears to foreigners like typical American hubris. My conservative brother-in-law remarked recently that presidents should be held accountable for good and bad things that happen in their administrations. He was not willing to blame Bush for 9/11, however, and now I wonder whether he will credit Obama with the fall of Egypt and for whatever good things may come out of this current wave of democracy. I feel quite certain he will readily blame Obama for whatever the rabid right can find wrong with the consequences of these revolts.

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