Louis: Doug, there are flames going up in the Middle East, something you’ve long said was in the cards, but it’s not between Israel and its neighbors. The revolutionary spirit sparked in Tunisia seems to have spread to Egypt, the largest Arab nation and a major U.S. ally, greatly destabilizing an already shaky region. The whole world suddenly seems in greater peril. What do you make of this?
Doug: Well, I think it’s about time—in fact, way past time. Revolution in the Middle East is long overdue.
L: [Chokes on tea, starts mopping keyboard with napkin.] Care to elaborate?
D: I’m not saying I favor the unpleasantness and inconvenience for so many people that comes with such events, but this upheaval is long overdue. These Arab countries have long been the most repressive places in the world, with the possible exception of the despotisms in Africa, to their south. It’s very good to see these regimes being overthrown. And the revolution—hopefully that’s what it is—is internally generated. It’s not the product of an invasion by foreign troops from an alien culture, which is what happened in Iraq and Afghanistan. Regime change in that whole part of the world is inevitable, necessary, and salubrious. The problematic question is: What are the old regimes going to be replaced with?
L: Fair enough. Let’s take this one piece at a time. I think I know what you’ll say, but do you think this is a fire that’s going to spread, ...