Light my fire

Donald Rumsfeld was given a hard time for some of his remarks, but the following two are perhaps worth pondering in the wake of the recent public uprisings in the Middle East:

“I would not say that the future is necessarily less predictable than the past. I think the past was not predictable when it started.”

“Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”

People are speculating about the real origins of the mass reaction to oust regimes that have been ruling in Tunisia and Egypt for decades. In time, perhaps, historians can find pieces that fit to give the sparks and the tinder that set the public revolt as a real raging fire. American politicians are quizzing the nation’s intelligence services to find out what they knew about the pending uprisings. The intelligence services will have a job trying to convince us that they were not caught largely by surprise. They may be able to unearth secrets, but what can they do about mysteries? But, try to figure out yourself what you know about the people who set these events in train and how they managed to coalesce at a particular time. Good food for thought and discussion while Sunday rolls around and minds want to drift off to less onerous things than major social change.


About The Grasshopper

Professional international economist, recently retired from an international organization. I use blogging as a way of organizing my ideas and thoughts about a range of topics. I was born in Jamaica, and spent many years being educated, living, and working in the UK. I lived in the USA for a few decades, and worked and travelled abroad extensively. My views have a wide international perspective. Father of girls. Also, married to an economist.
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