The spread of democracy around the world is a natural American aspiration, but sometimes the sincerity of that aspiration is tested by the disruptions of democratization. The astonishing events in Egypt are such a test. They are so thrilling in their purpose and so unclear in their outcome. They provoke exhilaration and anxiety. But they demonstrate to a new generation that the democratic longing is itself one of history's most powerful causes. And, for the United States, they make clear that the spread of democracy is not only a matter of morality, but also a matter of strategy.
When puzzling events happen in life — things that simply can't be explained, or at least can't be explained simply — people often put them down to fate. It's as though ascribing our troubles to fate somehow relieves us of the need to understand them. But what is fate, really? At best it's a difficult concept to grasp, much less explain in words. That may be why so many evocations of fate can be heard in music, a medium in which words are optional.