The dramatic images streaming out of Egypt over the past week suggest that the 30-year dictatorship of America's close ally, Hosni Mubarak, might be coming to an end.
The world is watching closely to see what kind of country may emerge from the latest popular revolt to rock the Arab world. Yet in the United States, the conversation -- as usual when it comes to the Middle East -- seems fixated on the singular issue of Islam, and more specifically, on the role that the Muslim Brotherhood may play in Egypt's future. GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum is already drawing parallels between the young protesters calling for an end to the brutal and repressive Mubarak regime, and the popular protests that, three decades ago, brought down another despicable dictator and former American ally, the Shah of Iran. "We abandoned [the Shah] and what we got in exchange was ... a radical Islamist regime," Santorum said. Mike Huckabee, another GOP presidential hopeful, joined in the hysteria, warning Americans that, "If in fact the Muslim Brotherhood is underneath much of the unrest [in Egypt] every person who breathes ought to be concerned."