How Effective Are Democratic Revolutions, Anyway? (re: Egypt)

Alright, so my history's getting a little rusty and, to be honest, there haven't been that many remarkable revolutions towards democracy in the past (the classic one is the Roman Empire...in general, they tend to go from empire to empire, with certain variations in the general size of the empire and also which ethnic group is leading it and then, as the modern era nears, dictators instead of the traditional "royalty"--i.e., benevolent dictators, with the whole noblesse oblige limiting the level of acceptable douchiness. Also, a "tyrant" in the original Greek simply refers to someone who has gained power through the military--that is, seizing it, not necessarily someone who rules badly. For funtimes and a moral plague, cf. the Melian Dialogue in Thucydides.)

Anyway, the first democratic revolution I can think of is the American one. Aside from its main cause being taxes levied to protect the colonists, let's look at how it turned out:
  • Articles of Confederation. What a fucking disaster! The original Constitutional Convention was intended to fix it, but they decided it was so horrible they just turned up with the Constitution. Which actually came very close to not passing, except for...
  • Secret elite dinner parties. No, seriously. Go read 'Founding Brothers.' In a short version, the location of the future capital was traded for certain concessions allowing the Constitution to be ratified, with the Bill of Rights. (I like all the Amendments, except 18. What a cock-up! Although, admittedly, some cool things have come out of it.) And what the hell is an Electoral College, anyway?

And then, two years after the ratification of the Constitution, the French had their own democratic revolution. Do I even need to explain how this one went wrong? Let's put it this way...from then to 1950ish, they have gone through five governments (the fifth came close to toppling in the...'70s, I believe).

I don't know if you could rightly call the Indian freedom movement a revolution, in part because documents exist to indicate the British were planning to either leave it entirely or make it a Crown protectorate (whatever the hell Canada was until the '80s-ish--essentially autonomous). Considering the shit Churchill and, for that matter, the delightful Maharani Victoria pulled, I'm just wondering why they haven't sued for more reparations, since they could totally (ab)use the cash.

The subsequent democratic movements all slip into the Cold War push-and-pull, where covert operations have this tendency to sway things in exactly the opposite direction from the one the populace wanted. For instance, the Irani president elected after the overthrow of the unpopular Shah was leaning Communist...and so the American CIA dumped the Shah back into place in the '50s, leading straight to Khomeini and now that clown Ahmadinejad, whose name I seriously cannot spell. And then there's all of South America, and also Southeast Asia, if you aren't convinced.

So what's going on in Egypt now...it'd be cute if things got sorted out right away, but I somehow doubt things are going to stabilize that quickly, especially since Mubarak was able to leave on his own terms (how much do you want to bet that he secured his escape before renouncing power?) and not those of the populace--that is, at least a week earlier.

I hear some news sources saying that the House of Saud will be the next to fall. To which I say: have you even opened a book about the Middle East in this past century?

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