Friday night topic: Egypt on the brink

— 6:31 PM on January 28, 2011

A wave of protest has struck across North Africa and the Middle East recently, leading to regime change in Tunisia and, it now appears, open revolt in Egypt. Jordan, by some accounts, could be next. The dictatorships in these countries have been repressive, undemocratic, and somewhat incompetent. As a rule, I'd tend to support the overthrow of such a government. Yet Egypt's regime may very soon fold, and there are tough questions to be asked about what might replace it. Even a more democratic political order could be viewed as a negative development overall, if it leads to the rise to power of Islamic radicals bent on imposing Sharia law and making alliance with Iran and its agents.

So the question is: if you're the leader of a western nation, how would you play this one? Support the revolution and try to nudge developments afterward in the right direction, or help sustain the existing regime because the devil you know is better than the one you don't? Discuss.

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