Now that Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak has been forced out, presumably in a military style coup that was brought on by massive civil unrest, just what are we to make of what has transpired in Egypt?
There seem to be several explanations regarding what just occurred in the land of The Pyramids. Here are the key explanations that I have encountered to date.
1.) What has transpired in Egypt is being portrayed by the U.S. mainstream media-and by a very wide margin- as nothing less than a full scale (political)revolution.
For that reason alone one must be deeply suspect of the idea that any sort of lasting, profound change has occurred in how Egyptian society functions. Yes, political power has been usurped, nominally new parties are seemingly, seemingly, mind you, in control of the political process. However, does this state of affairs equate to Egypt being in the midst of a process where entirely new socio-economic groups are about to redirect the energies of the nation? For the answer to that question, we will have to wait and see. In the meantime, we are left to wonder if the severe problems-high food prices and lower standards of living- that appeared to catalyze some critical number of the populace into forcefully demanding a drastic change in officialdom are going to be successfully addressed.
2.) Hosni Mubarak, a kleptocratic and somewhat decrepit despot has been ousted as the result of civil discontent that has now led to what is most likely a power vacuum that the entire region is on tenterhooks waiting to see filled. In short, there has been no revolution, but there may be a revolution as a result of Mubarak's ouster and a variety of continuing exogenous and endogenous pressures.
This explanation has the advantage of not reading too much into recent events, while not necessarily glossing over the great if unrealized potential that the aforesaid events may possess.
3.) The toppling of Hosni Mubarak was set in motion and pulled off at the behest of western elites for a variety of possible reasons listed here in no order of preference.
A.) The War on Terror is flagging and needs a boost. What better way to justify more military misadventures in the region that by destabilizing Egypt. The idea here is that long suppressed Islamic Fundamentalist elements in that nation will emerge, and, as a matter of course, will need to be "dealt" with.
B.) Mubarak was allowed to be taken down by western elites because they need someone fresh to do their bidding. Mubarak's sell by date, as it were, was long past, and a younger better despotic puppet-one who doesn't appear so obviously villainous- is required to continue the good work that Mubarak did on behalf of the west.
There is absolutely more than a kernel of truth in the notion that Mubarak was a U.S. puppet. It's, in fact, more true than untrue. However, do the western elites and their various operatives/agencies have anything like the ability to set in motion the sort of events-let alone control them-that such an explanation suggests? Highly doubtful in my view. The west's pull and influence, across all spectra, is badly waning. One could even assert that the collective pull and influence the west once enjoyed, especially in that region of the world, is in a state of terminal decline. If anything, the fall of the decrepit despot was more likely a failure of the west's resolve than anything else. On the other hand, the fall of Mubarak may simply have been the result of a kind of benign neglect on the part of Mubarak's western facilitators. In any case, it's important to remember that while both those explanations are plausible, they are, equally, like so many other things, unknowable.