Anne Applebaum in Monday's Washington Post points up an important fact about revolutions--one type of modern activist repudiation of a nasty and/or corrupt regime does not exactly follow another like the proverbial and repudiated "domino effect".
. Indeed what we are seeing in places like Egypt and Libya may be very different from anything we've seen in Eastern Europe in 1989 or in other parts of the world. The conflict may indeed have as much in common with the mostly-failed Revolutions in continental Europe in 1848. In which case, these events may will bring slower but long-lasting change to an area that, for a variety of reasons, has stubbornly lagged too long behind the rest of the world in pluralistic political development. *************************
"In Egypt, decisions made by the military may well have mattered as much as the actions of the crowd. In Bahrain, the conflict between Sunnis and Shiites is clearly central. The role of "Islam" is not the same in countries as different as Tunisia and Yemen. In Libya, the regime has already shown itself willing to use mass violence, which others have avoided. Tempting though it will be to lump all of these events together and treat them as a single "Arab revolution," the differences between countries may turn out to be more important than their similarities."