ArmyCaptain
by Patrick Appel

Beinart asks for Obama "to stop insulating Mubarak and Mahmoud Abbas from a reckoning with their own people":

 Middle Eastern tyrannies aren’t falling the way George W. Bush predicted. America isn’t the hammer; if anything, we’re the anvil. But Bush’s argument that Middle Eastern democracy could help drain the ideological swamp in which al Qaeda grew may yet be proved true. Osama bin Laden has never looked more irrelevant than he does this week, as tens of thousands march across the Middle East not for jihad, but for democracy, electricity, and a decent job. It’s a time for hope, not fear. America can survive having less control, as long as the Arab people have more.

(Photo:  An Egyptian army Captain identified as Ihab Fathi holds the national flag while being carried by demonstrators during a protest in Tahrir Square in Cairo on January 31, 2011, on the seventh day of mass protests calling for the removal of President Hosni Mubarak. By Marco Longari/AFP/Getty Images)  

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.