How the world has changed in six years. On this day in 2011, what became the Egyptian Revolution began, fresh on the heels of the successful revolution in Tunisia. How remote those heady days seem. The military that claimed to intervene in support of the revolution today rules the country. Syria is destroyed, Libya and Yemen profoundly divided, and only Tunisia has successfully experienced a peaceful transfer of power after elections. It is easy to assume "Arab Spring" was a failure, but that assumes that it has run its course. I am not so sure. Demand for change may have abated, but it has not ended. Many voices for democratic change have been silenced by arrest or exile, and many ordinary citizens have been persuaded that change is destabilizing, but the seeds once planted may yet spring to life again. Egypt and Bahrain in particular may be "stable," but Egypt's economy is severely challenged, dependent on foreign cash.
History takes place over the long run. The first flowering of Arab Spring failed, except for Tunisia. A second flowering may be long delayed, and new models of democratic reform less dervative of Western models may emerge. Or, of course, I could be just an incurable optimist.