This post is part of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page.
There he said it, Secretary of States John Kerry, commenting on the Egyptian coup: “The military was asked to intervene by millions and millions of people. The military did not take over, to the best of our judgment – so far.”
Where did Kerry make his pronouncement? In another “democratic” country run by the military with the help of US aid – Pakistan.
“To the best of our judgment – so far.” I assume that applies to Israel, another “democracy” run by a military occupation government with the help of US aid. The present peace process between Israel and the Palestinians is farther along than either Egypt or Pakistan. At least it’s more stable. With Israel dominating Palestine and Palestinians, all is quiet on the ever expanding Green Line Front – so far.
“So far” is quite a concept. It depends on where things have been and where they are going. For example, the Edward Snowden effect may not be going as well. With Snowden being granted temporary asylum in Russia, President Obama is considering cancelling his upcoming travel there.
“So far” is indeterminate. With regard to Russia it may be unraveling. Whistle blowing has consequences for the whistle blower – asylum seeking – as well as for the one whom the whistle has been blown on – managing the uproar.
Kerry also spoke in Pakistan about Egypt’s military leaders “restoring democracy.” Since Pakistan is constantly restoring democracy it’s a good a place to discuss the concept.
At the outset, the Egyptian military call for mass mobilization last week and now their order to clear the streets of thousands of protesters seems a peculiar way of restoring democracy. If you’ve ever studied the trajectory of regimes that restore democracy in this fashion, you know that “so far” covers a multitude of undemocratic sins. As in Egypt, restoring democracy usually means the military remains in charge whatever civilian government evolves.
But, then, I don’t want to be branded a “passionate skeptic” by Secretary Kerry, who uses the term to define those who think the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians isn’t going anywhere – so far.
Other Kerry news: US drone strikes are on the downswing in Pakistan. When asked if they will end soon, Kerry responded: “Well, I do. And I think the President has a real timeline, and we hope it’s going to be very, very soon.” The State Department reinforced (or corrected) Kerry’s statement: “Today, the Secretary referenced the changes that we expect to take place in that program over the course of time, but there is no exact timeline to provide.”
So far, that is, but perhaps in these far-flung areas of the world the timeline will be provided very, very soon.
Unless, of course, you are a passionate skeptic beyond the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
With John Kerry let’s hope that the passionate skeptics are wrong – for the sake of Egypt, Pakistan, Israel and the Palestinians and for all us in our global village.
So far, though, very, very soon sounds almost too good to be true.