Editor's Note: On Wednesday, I raised several questions about our intervention in Libya. Not long afterwards, Heather Hurlburt e-mailed with some answers. Readers may recognize Heather from her past contributions to this blog. A former speechwriter and foreign policy adviser in the Clinton Administration, she has also worked for the International Crisis Group, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and the Congressional Helsinki Commission.
It takes some hubris to write about events unfolding as fast as the protests in Egypt, especially when it’s clear that nobody saw this coming. Mubarak is preparing to address the nation, and it's unclear what will follow. Here are five points that American observers should keep in mind whatever comes next, while consuming the blog posts, Tweets, and TV coverage of their choice. Revolutions often erupt with little warning. Explosions of popular anger on the “Arab Street” have become a cliché.
Will the latest Wikileaks dump really matter that much? It’s true, as both Laura Rozen and Kevin Drum have observed, that many of the secret messages don’t seem to reveal big secrets. As Rozen wrote yesterday: one is struck overall that the classified diplomatic discussions on Iran revealed in the cables are not all that different from what one would expect from following the public comments senior U.S.
I'm surprised that initial reaction to the Bowles-Simpson proposal seems to be taking for granted one of the Commission's major conceptual surprises: treating Pentagon spending, which comprises 51 percent of discretionary spending, on par with non-defense discretionary spending. A strange bedfellows coalition of Barney Frank, Ron Paul, Tom Coburn and others (full disclosure, including me in a minor supporting role) has advocated this for six months.
Heather Hurlburt is executive director of the National Security Network. She wrote this in response to last week's item about liberal apathy. Jonathan Cohn falls into the same trap as his apathetic Netroots liberals as far as national security is concerned.