Even sadder is the US government’s response (or lack of) to the people’s movements in all the Middle Eastern and North African countries in the past few weeks (including the behind-the-curve lurches in Egypt). As before, they seem to be planning their actions based on the Yes Prime Minister series (A Victory for Democracy this time):
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Then we follow the four-stage strategy.
Bernard Woolley: What’s that?
Sir Richard Wharton: Standard Foreign Office response in a time of crisis.
Sir Richard Wharton: In stage one we say nothing is going to happen.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Stage two, we say something may be about to happen, but we should do nothing about it.
Sir Richard Wharton: In stage three, we say that maybe we should do something about it, but there’s nothing we “can” do.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Stage four, we say maybe there was something we could have done, but it’s too late now.