It is the nature of revolutions to be entirely unpredictable. Most fail, and even those that succeed often follow paths that no one foresaw—not their targets, not their protagonists, not the partisans on any side. The Frenchmen who stormed the Bastille never foresaw the Terror. The Russians who stormed the Winter Palace never imagined Stalin’s purges, the Gulag or the Great Famine. Most Iranians never meant to build a theocracy.
The uprising in Egypt is far from over, and neither is America’s necessary role. We must work to guard against the worst outcomes, which may seem remote but are all too likely in the unpredictable maelstrom of revolution:
• The disintegration of the Egyptian army. Though hardly a paragon of democratic virtue, the army is the most important institution in Egypt, and it is vital to a peaceful transition to a moderate form of government. If the army fractures, Egypt will descend into chaos.
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I think probably that the lesson that [Kim Jong Un is] learning is that he doesn’t have to give up anything and yet people will be scrambling for summits with him. ... The longer we have these drawn-out talks, these summits, bilaterals, trilaterals, quadrilaterals, the more it buys time for them to reinforce their claimed status [as a nuclear power] but also to continue with their R&D. But I do think that there is an element of trying to mitigate the sanctions, and also Kim took all those discussions about military strikes seriously enough to try and take the wind out of the sails. ... I find it difficult to envision how or why he would give up his nuclear weapons, which have pretty much given him what he’s wanted: which is the strategic relevance, the international prestige, and deterrence.