Longtime readers might have noted that I've been super-silent about events in Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, etc. As one reader asked me, "What gives?"
The answer is that, way back in the early days of... er... this month, I was all set to blog a response to Marc Lynch's speculation that authoritarian Arab governments were in trouble. "Silly Marc!" I thought, "this kind of speculation happens every five years or so, and it always turns out that these regimes are more robust than anyone thought."
In an unusual display of
sloth caution on my part, however, I held
back out of prudence. I hadn't thought all that much about the situation on the
ground, and that's a time when silence is the best policy. In contrast, Steve
Walt stepped into the breach... and now he's trying
to find his way back to shore.
Marc's latest post strikes me as both informative and spot-on in his assessments, so to avoid redundancy, I'd suggest checking it out.
For my readers, I'll just leave this as an open comment thread with the following discussion questions:
1) How much logic will be contorted in an effort to argue that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was the trigger? I'm thinking a lot.
2) Which neoconservative impulse will win out -- the embrace of democratic longing, or the fear of Islamic movements taking power?
3) A year from now, will Tunisia actually be a democracy? The "Jasmine Revolution" portion of this story is easy -- it's the grubby parts of institution-building and power-sharing that muck things up.
Daniel W. Drezner is professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.