Monday, January 31, 2011

How Cuba is (and is not) like Egypt (III) - Ross Douthat, NYT - "The Devil We Know

Normally, one of my least favorite NYT columnists is named Ross Douthat. He took over soon after neo-con William Kristol was show the door. However, Douthat really hit the nail on the head with his column this morning, "The Devil We Know: Weighing the Unknowns in Egypt."

Here's an excerpt (H/T to WNYC where I heard the column quoted while I drank my cafe con leche this morning):

"But history makes fools of us all. We make deals with dictators, and reap the whirlwind of terrorism. We promote democracy, and watch Islamists gain power from Iraq to Palestine. We leap into humanitarian interventions, and get bloodied in Somalia. We stay out, and watch genocide engulf Rwanda. We intervene in Afghanistan and then depart, and watch the Taliban take over. We intervene in Afghanistan and stay, and end up trapped there, with no end in sight.

"Sooner or later, the theories always fail. The world is too complicated for them, and too tragic. History has its upward arcs, but most crises require weighing unknowns against unknowns, and choosing between competing evils.

"The only comfort, as we watch Egyptians struggle for their country’s future, is that some choices aren’t America’s to make."

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