Anne Applebaum is the author of Gulag: A History and one very smart cookie, but this is stupid: “We should smile and embrace instability. And we should rejoice–because change, in repressive societies, is good.” The counterexamples spring to mind.
Applebaum brings us the wisdom of Jimmy Carter and Andrew Young circa 1979. Thirty years later, should we really have to ask whether change was “good,” or even for the better, in Iran in 1979, to take only one relevant counterexample? Readers trying to think through events in Egypt may wish to compare and contrast Applebaum’s inanity with the comments of Barry Rubin to Kathryn Jean Lopez.
In his latest report on events in Egypt Rubin notes that Muhammed al-Baradei, seen as the leading “moderate, pro-democratic” leader in Egypt is negotiating with the Muslim Brotherhood to form a national unity government. Would a government under the thumb of the Muslim Brotherhood really be “good” for Egypt, let alone the United States?
Applebaum would do well to remember the cautionary note struck by Edmund Burke: “I must be tolerably sure, before I venture publicly to congratulate men upon a blessing, that they have really received one.”
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