The turmoil in Egypt that we have seen over and over again on the news is something of a wake-up call for the rest of the world. You may not see this, but such demonstrations are the labor pains that bring a new democracy screaming into the world. Cairo is engulfed in a revolution that is attempting to shove out the autocracy that has defined it for three decades, and usher in a new democracy, new voice and vision, and a new lease on stability for the region. The outcome of the Egyptian uprising will likely have an echo effect over the rest of the region and the world.
The ironic thing is that we are starting to hear people issue reservations regarding the toppling of the current autocracy, the premise being that it will inevitably lead to a less stable Muslim theocracy that will be less likely to work withing U.S. interests. However, in this post on Nieman Watchdog, the author explains why these views are inaccurate.
This view, that the current government is better than the alternative, is one that has been put forth by Mubarak himself. He has regularly hinted at the theory that his continued control of Egypt is the only thing keeping it from being drowned in chaos.
But Democracy is not something that evolves from a vacuum. It grows out of the exact conditions that have recently existed in Egypt. Consider the atmosphere that existed in Colonial America leading up to the Revolution: foreign powers controlled everything, incurred heavy taxes, and exploited the colonies harshly for personal gain. The colonists rose up, fought back, and created America. We are witnessing a similar revolution now, one that could possibly bring new stability to Egypt, and we are quibbling over whether Egypt should have a democracy because we don't know what that democracy will do.
America needs to stop being the world police, step out of the way of places like Egypt, and let those countries have their own fistfights.