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Liberated Egyptians: you’re welcome!

Clive Crook’s blog notes the following story from Politico:

the Obama administration finally notched a foreign policy victory with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s decision to resign and turn over power to top military officials…

“Great news for the administration/president,” said one senior Democratic official who asked not to be named. “People will remember, despite some fumbles yesterday, that the President played an excellent hand, walked the right line and that his statement last night was potentially decisive in bringing this issue to a close. The situation remains complicated and delicate going forward, but this is a huge affirmation of the President’s leadership on the international stage.”

Clive hilariously suggests each of us substitute our own name for “the President” to have more fun with the absurdity of this statement: “Aid Watch played an excellent hand, and its blog Thursday night was potentially decisive in bringing this issue to a close.”

What’s more, we could use the classic aid evaluation technique of before and after analysis to demonstrate the huge effect of Aid Watch blogs on events in Egypt. The following is only a sample:

Jan 31: our blog Double Standards Brigade Goes to Egypt signals that a major American player is on the protesters’ side. Mubarak then announces he will not run for re-election.

February 9: our blog Ignorance Dooms Autocracy announces that some development economists think autocracy is bad for long run development. Protests explode further.

Friday, February 11: The critical moment: our blog posted at 3:30am Egyptian time ridicules Mubarak’s speech from Thursday night. Mubarak then resigns.

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  1. Ed Carr wrote:

    I agree that the statement in Politico is absurd – and I do love how you’ve used your posts and events in Egypt to highlight how useless most impact evaluation in development really is . . . but what is more interesting to me are the silences in pockets of the administration. No, the public statements were not pivotal, but they were cover for what seems like a lot of informal, back-channel negotiation and influence that nobody seems to want to discuss (and probably can’t, given the less-than-positive view of the US held by many in Egypt). This is not to say that Egypt was not an example of a popular uprising that actually triumphed, but that this uprising did have some help . . . successful ones usually do.

    Posted February 12, 2011 at 9:44 am | Permalink
  2. Matt Jones wrote:

    What do you mean?? Obama gave a nice speech yesterday. It was mellifluous and inspiring. He sent over Mubarak’s top lobbyist a former Ambassador to negotiate the situation and very firmly send the message that the dictator could stay Mubarak had to go. This is clearly what the clairvoyant Nobel Committee foresaw when they gave him the peace prize. This is the greatest foreign policy victory in the history of the universe since Reagan single-handedly brought down the USSR. And You’re welcome.

    Posted February 12, 2011 at 10:10 am | Permalink
  3. Mozza wrote:

    An evaluator summed it up for me: It’s not “before and after”, it’s “with and without”.

    Posted February 12, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Permalink
  4. Diane Bennett wrote:

    Does it bother anyone besides me that the President of the US is both celebrating Egyptian self-determination and his own “international leadership” that brought this about, being given credit for his hand in this?

    Posted February 13, 2011 at 11:01 am | Permalink

6 Trackbacks

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by William Easterly, Myriam Robin and Peter Dörrie, BeaV. BeaV said: RT @bill_easterly Egyptians, you're welcome! (Gentle satire of some US govt officials claiming credit for outcome) […]

  2. By Rendons à César… « Hady Ba’s weblog on February 12, 2011 at 11:57 am

    […] de 18h: Oh les imposteurs! Ceci est vraiment, vraiment […]

  3. […] not trying to snatch credit from Egyptians for what is an endogenous revolution.  I don’t think it diminishes the dignity of the […]

  4. By Egypt is free, but it’s not over | Humanosphere on February 12, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    […] is Free!” due to a true people’s democracy movement, one which the U.S. government did little to support until the very end. As Easterly and others have also noted, the amazing events in Tunisia, Egypt […]

  5. […] the original post: Liberated Egyptians: you’re welcome! AKPC_IDS += […]

  6. […] Posted on February 13, 2011 by kaosv Obama to liberated Egyptians: you’re welcome! This entry was posted in link. Bookmark the […]

  • About Aid Watch

    The Aid Watch blog is a project of New York University's Development Research Institute (DRI). This blog is principally written by William Easterly, author of "The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics" and "The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good," and Professor of Economics at NYU. It is co-written by Laura Freschi and by occasional guest bloggers. Our work is based on the idea that more aid will reach the poor the more people are watching aid.

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