Read Mr. Friedman’s column from the New York Times, Postcard from a Free Egypt, here.
It was Friedman’s usual analytical mumbo jumbo, nothing particularly compelling, until this part:
In some ways, President Barack Obama did the Egyptian revolution a great favor by never fully endorsing it and never even getting his act together for how to deal with it. This meant in the end that Egyptians know they did this for themselves by themselves – with nothing but their own willpower, unity and creativity.
Very insightful. The thought had never occurred to me that the United States did the Egyptians a favor by maintaining a somewhat neutral stance towards Egypt’s revolution (not that I believe they did it on purpose, but I think this is a case where the administration didn’t know exactly what to do and things turned out okay). By not fully backing the Egyptian rebellion, the U.S. can refute claims that America is still trying to actively exert political influence for its own interest (like ‘spreading democracy’, etc), at least not in the case of Egypt. This provides the U.S. with some legitimacy and credibility with future diplomatic discussions within the region.