It has been a most disturbing week in Egypt. Possibly the best spin is that transitions to a freer society, a more representative government take time and are painful, as we are reminded when looking at the history of the United States. I hope that’s true, though I doubt it to be the case.
Meanwhile, criitcs have lashed out at President Obama’s rather meek response to the brutal actions of the Egyptian military. What’s most telling about this criticism is that it is most extreme from his base on the left, including the New Republic and The New York Times. (The latter, in a guest editorial, stated that the Obama administration was complicit with the Egyptian military. Pretty strong stuff.) It is also not a big leap to believe Obama’s foreign policy overall has been lacking. But before it becomes too easy and too emotionally satisfying to lay the crisis in Egypt at the president’s feet, it is likely wise to gain perspective on the unique dynamics of this pivotal north African country, as Daniel Williams from Human Rights Watch writes in the Washington Post.