The concept of “speaking truth to power” – a phrase made popular by a 1955 Quaker pamphlet – only really applies when great power is arrayed against you, and all you have on your side is truth and right. Welcome to Egypt.
When Hosni Mubarak, then the country’s president, was under siege during the original 18-day protest in 2011, the population at large was either supportive or lukewarm about the protests and the revolution. Eventually the majority came to agree with the demand that he leave office.
Under Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi, who succeeded Mr Mubarak, most Egyptians were supportive of the army; even after a year, only a slight majority opposed military involvement in politics.
After that, Mohammed Morsi’s popular support evaporated most quickly, because his actions and policies made it easy for the masses to reject his rule.
But with each of these changes in government came, and comes, a corresponding crisis.
Within a few weeks of Mr Mubarak’s departure, the pro-January 25 forces were split. Most of them wanted to engage in thorough reform, and did not view the military’s road-map as the first step in achieving that.
Meanwhile the Muslim Brotherhood decided to proceed alone and to engage with the military. Had the MB stayed with the revolutionary camp, things might have turned out very differently.
I think it's unusual for the chief of staff to go on a trip, particularly on a trip this long. The chief of staff is usually more of a chief operating officer in the White House itself, and normally when your principal—whether it's the president himself or the head of Cabinet agency—goes abroad, you have his deputy and those folks staying behind to help manage operations in his absence.