While I was out this morning, history was made in Egypt. I have to admit that I was completely surprised that Hosni Mubarak resigned his office today. I was worried deeply that I would return home to scenes of bloodshed, because the tensions seemed so high.
I am happy for the Egyptian people. Clearly this is something that they wanted, and it was important for the U.S. to maintain precisely the right distance from this situation, so as not to have enemies use us as a bogeyman against those seeking for democracy. But we also needed to be in the ear the Egyptian government to remind them that broad based violence against the protesters would not be tolerated (and to use our aid as leverage). It was a delicate dance, and at times it wasn't pretty, but now we have a day ending with people cheering in the streets of Egypt.
I agree fully with President Obama that this marks a new beginning for Egypt, not an end, and Egypt has a long way to go. The dangers are real, as is the potential for failures. Americans just happen to have a little experience in that arena