Friday, February 11, 2011

You're so vain, you probably think this revolution is about you

Congratulations the Egyptian people! In the past few weeks, I and others occasionally lost faith that they would actually force the removal of Mubarak from power. Oh we, of little faith. This has been a most intriguing and inspiring course of events that every American should celebrate. Over 80 million people have set the stage for self-determination. Wow.

However, we all know not all Americans are going to celebrate this for what it is. This thirdling blogger isn't going to change the discourse on this topic, but I'm going to say it anyway: American pundits, this revolution isn't about you. For those elements on the left that want to declare victory for your side, note you had little influence on this. The USG's policies in the past month have been cryptic at best and while there may have been back channel discussion, I'd like to think it was to do the right thing. If that is the case, I'm not going to pat you on the back for siding with the right side of history.

Elements on the right get a rebuke, too. Enough of your scare mongering. If you truly understand and care for our nation's forefathers, then you would immediately see they would celebrate this. A whole peoples taking their future out of the hands of a despot and placing it within their own. Might Islamist groups be part of the new government? Sure - if that's what the Egyptian people want. It is not for us to say what government Egyptians should have and to think otherwise is arrogance in the extreme and despotism from without.

So no, this revolution isn't about you. It's about the Egyptian people and their freedoms. America's role should be to step in when asked for assistance and otherwise let these emancipated peoples choose how they want to be governed. It is what we demanded for ourselves 235 some odd years ago. Their path ahead will be difficult enough without foreign interference. Do not make this about you, because it's about them and their courage and their freedom. Give them this day, celebrate their victory, and wish them your best. It is the right thing to do.


  1. i don't know about you guys, but i'm gonna work for facebook now. google is going down, down. google has 20,000 employees, facebook 2,000. why didn't wael use google groups or youtube? facebook is the future.

  2. Wael Ghonim:

    I want to meet Mark Zuckerberg one day and thank him…. I’m talking on behalf of Egypt. This revolution started online. This revolution started on Facebook. This revolution started in June 2010 when hundreds of thousands of Egyptians started collaborating content. We would post a video on Facebook that would be shared by 60,000 people on their walls within a few hours. I always said that if you want to liberate a society just give them the Internet…. The reason why is the Internet will help you fight a media war, which is something the Egyptian government regime played very well in 1970, 1980, 1990, and when the Internet came along they couldn’t play it. I plan to write a book called Revolution 2.0… that will highlight the role of social media.

  3. You guys gotta do a post on the movie "the Social Network":

    Mark Zuckerberg: “We don’t know what it can be. We don’t know what it will be. We know that it is cool.”

    And bring back TX Hammes Reading list:

    Fortunately, over the past couple of decades, a number of books have provided thought-provoking new theories of how the world works. Unfortunately, these theories do not align with the planning processes we use in the defense industry. The first step in fixing our planning processes is to examine how science’s understanding of reality is changing.

    The authors of these works highlight aspects of how the world has changed. This forces us to change how we frame problems, how we organize to deal with them and even how to get the best out of our people. For instance, if one still saw the world as a hierarchy, then one looked for the “leadership” of the Iraqi insurgency in 2003. Yet if one saw the world as a network in which emergent intelligence is a key factor, then one quickly saw the networked insurgent entities as they evolved an emergent strategy in Iraq. Our ability to adjust to the rapidly changing future security environment will, to a large degree, depend on our ability to understand the world as it is rather than as we have been taught to understand it. Reading these 12 books should help.

  4. Well, don't count your chickens before they've hatched. There was a lot of partying in St. Petersburg in March 1917 too. This thing ain't over yet.

  5. There was also a lot of partying after the Shah was booted out.

  6. Note that both the Russian, French, and Iranian Revolutions were hijacked mostly after foreign invasion or civil war, working in concert with counter-revolutionary forces in the country. This allowed radicals to seize the government under guise of protecting the revolution and purge everyone else. Thankfully the Egyptians are in no danger of that.

  7. Absolutely fantastic title.