Many observers are arguing that instability in Egypt and the Middle East could cut against U.S. and Israeli interests in the region over the short term, but will contribute to an opening of those societies that will ultimately be better for U.S. and Israeli interests than the stability of authoritarian governments. It still remains to be seen whether what is true in theory will in fact be true in practice, but I am inclined to agree that over the long term that is probably true. Here are my questions, however: How long is the long term? And could things get so bad in the short to medium term that hoping for long-term changes may veer dangerously close to wishful thinking? My point isn’t that anyone knows the answers to these questions; it is simply that they seem to be important questions to ask before celebrating the new instability.
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