Saturday, January 29, 2011

Will North Africa and the Middle East join the democracies of Europe?

People in their 50s and older may remember not only the dictatorships of Eastern Europe, but the dictatorships of Portugal, Spain and Greece. Many of these are now gone.  About the only authoritarian European regimes left are Russia and some of its former "republics".

Many of us had hopes for Iran a couple of years ago, but some of the Ayatollahs, the Republican Guard, and the Basiji put the damper on that.  Now the government of Tunisia has toppled and the situation is in flux.  The Egyptian government has been seriously challenged to a greater extent than Iran was.  In fact, as of today, the people practically rule the streets and have destroyed many government building while protecting popular buildings like museums.

What will the next ten years bring?  The European model or more of the same old self-perpetuation of self-appointed elites?