Mubarak out–what’s next?

Seems like I should observe the big news of today, which, of course, is that Egypt’s president Hosni Mubarak has given in to weeks of protests and relinquished power, despite that fact that as recently as yesterday, it looked like he was determined to hang on.

There seem to be plenty of legitimate questions about what exactly is going to happen next. Will the military, which has assumed power, facilitate a speedy and genuine transition to a more democratic regime? There’s also the question of the ongoing role of the U.S.–will our government, which has backed Mubarak all these years, refrain from trying to impose its will on the political outcome? Or will it support the emergence of another pliable strongman (like purported chief torturer Omar Suleiman)?

Still, it’s genuinely inspiring to see a popular, nonviolent uprising bring about what is potentially a hugely significant step forward for millions of people. Let’s hope the Egyptian people can make a go of it.

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