POMED’s Shadi Hamid considers how a historic protest in Egypt provides an opportunity to reconsider the possibility of democratic beginnings in the Middle East, and how the United States can make good on its rhetorical commitment to regional democracy.   

After 40 years of socialist dictatorship, the Iron Curtain collapsed as millions spilled into the streets demanding that they would accept nothing less than a new, free political order. During that intoxicating time, it seemed as if nothing could stop the relentless march of freedom. Perhaps, as Francis Fukuyama would later remark in his famous article, the “end of history” was indeed upon us.

Saad Eddin Ibrahim, famed pro-democracy activist and once my professor and teacher, said in 1989 that there were “beginnings of democratic transformation” in the Arab world and that Egypt was “on the road of democracy.”

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