Ross Douthat on riding the tiger:
(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.
No, but the consequences may be ours to live with, for better or worse.
Mubarak is gone, either now or next September. His son will not inherit the pharaoh’s scepter. What trembles in the balance now is unknowable, but experience gives the lie to optimism.
Yeats was here first, although all things tend towards entropy.