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Washington has exhibited a gloating satisfaction at the Syrian misfortune it helped to engineer in Lebanon, but its profound confusion about how this country works, and its draining misadventure in Iraq, have drastically reduced its ability - and its standing - to check the counterstrokes that Damascus may feel obliged to implement as a prophylactic against "regime change.
Moreover, the case of Filelfo is especially interesting because, despite literary history's portrayal of him as among the most sycophantic of humanists, a careful review of many of his engagements with his patrons and audiences reveals a personality that was far from compliant or obsequious on many occasions: indeed, for every stroke of flattery and deference that Filelfo used in his dealings with powerful elites, we can find in equal measure counterstrokes of defiance, instances of obstreperous reaction, and, occasionally, even unguarded utterances that we have come to speak of in the idiom of the modern world as moments of speaking truth to power.
These counterblows would calm the border for a while; but, eventually, Egypt would resume the fighting, eliciting another round of Israeli counterstrokes.