Robert Kaplan (in the NY Times) weighs in on Tunisia's "Jasmine Revolution," and cautions us not to expect it to lead to much across the Arab world. And besides, he says, more Arab democracies are bad for US "interests":
Another thing to keep in mind: in terms of American interests and regional peace, there is plenty of peril in democracy. It was not democrats, but Arab autocrats, Anwar Sadat of Egypt and King Hussein of Jordan, who made peace with Israel. An autocrat firmly in charge can make concessions more easily than can a weak, elected leader — just witness the fragility of Mahmoud Abbas’s West Bank government. And it was democracy that brought the extremists of Hamas to power in Gaza. In fact, do we really want a relatively enlightened leader like King Abdullah in Jordan undermined by widespread street demonstrations? We should be careful what we wish for in the Middle East.By all means then, the US needs to back the autocrats. To hell with elections! To hell with democracy! That's not what America's about!