Monday, February 21, 2011

Violence in Libya, and why Egypt was probably the last peaceful transition we'll see anytime soon

A friend Tweets:

My response: "Yes. That's the whole point. I deplore it though."

It's worth mentioning, though, that after Tunisia and Egypt, we're probably done seeing peaceful transitions away from authoritarian rule in the Middle East—at least for a little while. Those countries' rulers passed from the scene with relatively little violence, and it's easy to see that other rulers in the region decided that the lesson was they'd either A) have to commit bloodshed to hold onto power or B) give up power. There's little chance, at this point, that they'll try to peacefully outwait the protesters: That route doesn't seem to work. For authoritarians, the incentives now belong on the violent side of things.

I'm not suggesting the protests are futile. The use of violence, as in the case of Libya, probably further de-legitimizes governments that are already illegitimate. But if this series of revolutions is to continue, the easy parts are probably already over.

1 comment:

emawkc said...

From what I'm hearing (from NPR, no less), it's a bit too soon to say that any Egyptian transition that may occur will be peaceful.