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Several months ago I was at a public talk here at Miami University on the Middle Eastern uprisings by a visiting scholar. When it was over, the person next to me said, « But when is it going to finally settle down? Why is it taking so long? »
I keep hearing these sentiments — and from Egyptians as well as North Americans and Europeans. There seems to be an expectation that when a regime falls to popular protest, an orderly transition to democracy should be expected.
« Well, after all, it took the US 20-30 years to establish order after the revolution, » I said.
« What do you mean? » she asked. After a brief conversation it became clear that this colleague, with a PhD in Arabic Literature, educated in US high schools and universities, had some notion that the US sprang magically into being in 1776 or thereabouts, once the British regime was…
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