Today one diplomat who served a tour in Egypt told me that his friends there would rather not go back to the Mubaak era–no matter how bad things become. For Americans who like a solution to a problem as much as a slab of meat between the bun, this poses a longer term problem; Egypt and the Middle East will take some time.
On the issue of Egypt David Brooks observes:
In reality, the U.S. has no ability to influence political events in Egypt in any important way. The only real leverage point is at the level of ideas. Right now, as Walter Russell Mead of Bard College put it, there are large populations across the Middle East who feel intense rage and comprehensive dissatisfaction with the status quo but who have no practical idea how to make things better
The really scary question in Egypt is whether things have decayed so far that the Army, either directly or indirectly, can no longer maintain order. Are so many Egyptians so angry, so disillusioned and so desperate that they will simply refuse to accept another stitched-up military backed state? If so, Egypt is less likely to explode than to implode: the economy would collapse further, food riots and other forms of violence would break out, minorities would face persecution and pogroms, criminal gangs would emerge. There could well be mass killings and civil chaos— though, despite the cleric’s words, we don’t see Egypt descending into a Syrian style civil war. Egypt lacks Syria’s ethnic and religious diversity; the largest minority group, the Copts, are too interspersed with the rest of the population to fight a civil war and are neither well-armed nor well-organized.