by Patrick Appel
All historical analogies are revealing up to a point and misleading thereafter, and that line should be specified. But comparisons themselves are not inherently misleading, and are often illuminating.
For example, I've written that Egypt is in a "1989 moment" - and that the question is whether we are in June or November. That's not Eurocentric (June is a reference to Tienanmen, obviously), and it is meant to illuminate a specific point which seems to me entirely relevant to an analysis of the situation in Egypt today, which is that the level of street protest seems to me to have reach a crucial political point where either a government-initiated bloodbath, or a government collapse (or possible both) seems unavoidable at this point. If that analysis is correct, then it clarifies policy and advocacy choices for all concerned.