The term “Arab Spring” was born of optimism, not analysis. When a downtrodden fruit monger in Tunisia self-immolated, setting off a series of regional upheavals, many journalists, diplomats and academics thought they heard an echo of the Prague Spring of 1968. That was when Czechoslovakia boldly initiated democratic reforms – an experiment quickly extinguished by a Soviet invasion.
Americans -- left, right, Democrats and Republicans -- are all sick of thankless nation-building in the Middle East. Yet democratization was not our first choice, but rather a last resort after prior failures.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a firm statement to the Syrian elite this week, urging them to overthrow the regime of Bashar al-Assad. "The longer you support the regime's campaign of violence against your brothers and sisters, the more it will stain your honor," she advised.
A year ago this week, on January 25, 2011, the ground began to crumble under then-Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak's feet. One year later, Mubarak and his sons are in prison, and standing trial.
Near The Kirti Monastary in a Tibetan area of China's Sichuan province, 21-year-old Lobsang Jamyang publicly set himself on fire last Saturday. It was the fourth time this month that a Tibetan protesting Chinese repression had resorted to self-immolation.
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