9. The Arab Spring
We have no idea how the string of revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa this year is going to turn out. But we do know that they are a sign of deep change that has toppled more governments in the region than either al Qaeda or the United States could. These revolutions are having a broader social impact than extremism and are linked more directly to the self-interest of the masses in the region -- which ought to have us handicapping it with better odds than we'd give fundamentalist murderers practicing their ancient, outmoded, and ineffective trade. The United States was right to focus on the rise of nonstate actors and asymmetric power -- it was just focusing on the wrong sources of that power.
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