Viewing the Arab Spring from the perspective of winter, I am not as cynical as some who think all of the upheaval in the Middle East was as concocted as the color revolutions of Europe were by the powers that be. I sincerely believe the fellow who set himself on fire in a town square in Tunisia because he was fed up having to pay bribes to petty bureaucrats just to sell fruits to feed his family because of rising food prices, made a gesture wholly natural and wholly out of frustration, not because George Soros or Barak Obama told him to. The Powers that Be much prefer stability than upheaval.
However, be that as it may, aftermath of all these “revolutions” and culture shocks in the politics and government of the region is leading to a power vacuum which is being filled by Islamist political parties. It may well be the Year of the Protestor according to Time Magazine but it could means decades of Islamist rule judging by the election results according to writers like Chronicles Dr. Srdja Trifkovic.
Why this disconnect between Tahir Square and the ballot box? Because the sad reality is revolutions more often than not are not made by majorities. The secularists of the Arab may well have been sophisticated enough to know they could bring down a government by filling a public square with Twitter bombs and Facebook posts, but they simply are too small a minority to run the country, at least for right now. The Muslim Brotherhood could never get away with organizing such massive protests, the students could and prevent the U.S. from decisively backing the government. But the Brotherhood can get away with winning the majority of seats in the Egyptian Parliament because they for many many years were the only organized opposition to the government and were organized at the street level through the social service the government was happy to hand over to them. Now they’ll be running the show because for the masses not educated in the ways of social media, they are their only true representative. History repeats itself in Egypt, as in Iran cira n1979-81, the technocratic elite who thought they would run things while Ayatollah Khomeini would be a figurehead never believe the mullahs were actually dead serious about setting up a theocracy. Instead they wound up back in exile in Paris being kicked out of Iran once again.
But the non-Islamists shouldn’t lose hope just for the very fact they are young. Eventually they will inherit the Middle East and elsewhere in time and can run it any way they wish. They have to bide their time and hope Islamism runs its course as a manner of governing as beginning to be the case in Iran. In the meantime they would best be engaged with those who have to work for a living and who don’t inhabit Internet cafes. They might learn something in the process.