This Onion article isn’t the funniest they’ve ever done, but it does bring up a good point: people are loathe to admit the concept of human nature into discussion, and when they do, they try to paper over the implications. And woe be unto those who actually try to bring it up…
Tim Geithner is asked whether President Obama’s budget reduces the debt at any point, and he gives the correct answer: no, it does not. Obama is entirely out of his league here and it’s funny listening to him try to break out the austerity line and pretend that he’s anything other than a big-spender (of other peoples’ money).
I haven’t talked much about Egypt or Tunisia here because I’m waiting for the short-term ramifications to become evident before saying too much (early thoughts: Tunisia could be good, but Egypt is much less likely to have a good outcome, particularly in the short term). It does look like, however, that Libya is the latest in this chain, with a full-on civil war brewing. I have no love for Moammar Gaddafi, and I hope he goes down hard.
But it’s not all roses and deposing despots who deserve it. The main problem with all of this is that we’re looking at a region in which superstition and stupidity rule the day, egged on by the dictators and strongmen in charge. Victor Davis Hanson notes that, in Libya’s case, Gaddafi constantly pushed the Anti-Americanism theme, and it’s succeeded to the point that people actually believed that Gaddafi himself was installed by the US and Israeli governments. Seriously. Traipse through any other non-Israel country in the North Africa/Middle East region and you’ll find the same thing. Decades of inculcation in “the reason our country is a failure is because of the Jooooooos” and that kind of thing takes hold. This is one reason why I find the likelihood of a happy ending versus “meet the new boss, same as the old boss” pretty low.