Wednesday, February 2, 2011

It’s Not Always About Us

Watching the delicate balance the White House is taking with the situation in Egypt — here’s your hat, Hosni; what’s your hurry? — reminds me that no matter where something like this happens in the world, two things are going to happen:

– First, the pundits will wonder what our role in it is or should be because everything in the world either revolves around us or is our fault;

– Second, there will be those in the political world who will find a way to find fault with the president who happens to be in office at the time.

I know it will come as a great shock to the Very Serious People on Morning Joe, but not everything in the world is because of us or happens as a direct — or even indirect — result of something we did or didn’t do. It’s the height of self-absorption to think it does, and it’s just one of the aspects of what they call “American exceptionalism” that is really unappealing.

It also feeds the mindset that is exploited by our enemies that we are the source of all that is wrong in their world. That makes us a convenient scapegoat for their own shortcomings. There’s a drought in the Sudan? Blame America. There’s a shortage of rice in Cuba? Guess who’s fault that is. As it is, we have our hands and our interests in enough places and enterprises that we can be given credit or blame for the things we really do; let’s not compound it by making ourselves the point people for things we have no control over.