In response to Mubarak stepping down, President Obama delivered a pitch perfect speech calling for "nothing less than genuine democracy," not just a government aligned with U.S. interests. There will be many foreign policy takeaways from Egypt, but here's an obvious one: invading a country, toppling its regime, destroying civil society, and then trying to put all the pieces back together with a ten-year occupation and a few trillion dollars turns out not to be the only way to increase the spread of democracy in the Middle East. Wired was more effective than warred. People can now connect to each other faster than any government can connect with its people. And while governments may be able to shut down the hardware, they can't shut off the social effects of digital networks. Any leader who doesn't understand this dynamic should book a room next to wherever Mubarak is heading.
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