I’m going to recommend two pieces to you even though I’m unsure how much I agree with either of them. First, read My Optimism About the New Arab Revolt by Daniel Pipes in National Review. Then read Post-Post Imperialism by Leon Wieseltier in The New Republic. I can quibble with both of these, but I hope they’re right in the main. Pipes is correct when he says “pessimism serves as a career enhancer in Middle East studies,” but it’s also a mistake to succumb to it all the time.
It’s too soon to say too much about where the Arab revolt is going, how it will turn out, and what it will mean. So many things can go terribly wrong, and some of them probably will. We’re talking about the Middle East here, after all, and the region won’t likely settle down into anything stable for quite a while. Though no one can possibly know what it will look like in the end, and while the end result will most likely be mixed, it’s worth pausing for a moment and noting that the glass is not only half empty. It is also half full.