Max Forte at Zero Anthropology* has a perceptive assessment of what he takes to be a (Hillary) “Clinton doctrine,” which he describes as the U.S.
hedging [its] bets by keeping a foot in almost all camps, by maintaining contact with diverse sectors in a society critical to U.S. national security interests, emphasizing “stability” when regime survival seems possible, and then emphasizing “orderly transition” when change seems probable. It is a mixture of realism and opportunism and a desire to intervene without being seen to intervene, a low cost foreign policy that builds on established bases of military aid and support for civil society groups. By maintaining open and positive channels of communication (with Mubarak, the military, the April 6 Movement, El Baradei, and even the Muslim Brotherhood [long a working ally of the U.S.]) the U.S. made sure that no matter what resulted, it would remain in the picture as a continued player of importance. Viewed in this light, there is nothing contradictory about U.S. statements on Egypt.
The penultimate paragraph of his piece includes some very interesting links pointing to the role of the U.S. State Department-connected Alliance for Youth Movements and of executives at Google in helping orchestrate the “revolution.” (And given their size relative to certain nations, why shouldn’t corporations like Google have a foreign policy?)
Ultimately, I’m convinced that the face (and feel, and texture, and rhythm) of successful revolution is infectious, and that no matter what forces contributed to making it happen, what they unleashed is larger than they would be able to contain.
In “Power, normality, revolution,” Samule Schilke argues that “In reversal of Foucault’s thesis, the Egyptian revolution shows that every form of resistance produces its own particular form of power.” To what extent that’s true we will see. But the following lines of Schilke’s clearly capture the point my last paragraph was intended to make. They are also, incidentally, a very good definition of what I mean by “anthropomorphism,” in the (reclaimed) sense of an open-ended becoming-human, a change in the scope of “what a body can do”:
Their experience of acting and changing their condition, the success of going out to the streets at all on January 25, of throwing back the police on January 28, of establishing law and order in the absence of the police after the lootings of January 29, of organizing mass peaceful demonstrations and putting the entire political system under pressure, has changed the way they understand their scope of possible action. Any attempt to govern them, be it by a democratic government or by the authoritarian system consolidating itself again, has to take this into account.
Dialogic also provides a very good set of links here.
*originally incorrectly identified as “Next Anthropology.” Apologies to Max for getting the name wrong.