In addition to being a frequent talking head on Ken Burns’ films such as The Age of the Roosevelts (coming in 2014!), you may know George Will from his columns in the Washington Post. I don’t often read him, but several blogs have approvingly linked to his column today, which offers a word of caution to those certain of Egypt’s future:
[T]here is a cottage industry of Barack Obama critics who, not content with monitoring his myriad mistakes in domestic policies, insist that there must be a seamless connection of those with his foreign policy. Strangely, these critics, who correctly doubt the propriety and capacity of the U.S. government controlling our complex society, simultaneously fault the government for not having vast competence to shape the destinies of other societies. Such critics persist because, as Upton Sinclair wrote in 1935, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”
Here’s an aphorism (otherwise known as a pre-Twitter blog post) I crafted just over two years ago:
Those who display the most vehement distrust in the ability of their government to act well in domestic affairs will often be the most fervent believers in the ability of their government to act well in foreign affairs.
The similarity is striking, is it not? One wonders whether Will happened upon my pithy wisdom and immediately pilfered it for his own use, or whether it has merely taken him two years fully to absorb the complex richness of my devastatingly original observation. Speculation could indeed run wild, but forbearance would be seemly.