by Patrick Appel

Fred Kaplan wonders what happens now:

It may seem strange to Westerners that the military might playand would be popularly celebrated for playinga progressive role in national politics. But in fact it's not so unusual, especially in the developing world. The Turkish military has long been that country's most forceful advocate of secular modernism. Even in our own country, in colonial times, the Continental Army led the Revolution, and its commander George Washington could easily have emerged as a new king (in today's parlance, a military dictator) had it not been for his reticence and dedication to democratic principles.

Who are the new uniformed leaders in Egypt? What are their ambitions and principles? Nobody really knows, perhaps not even Cairo insiders. Mubarak had ruled for 30 years, after all. He was a general officer himself, he treated the officer corps well, and the military's Supreme Council never had the chance to develop as an independent entity.

Now that they're untethered from their master, who can say what courses the officers will follow, what historic figures they might emulate. Will they be Washingtons, Trotskys, Pinochetsor something altogether different? 

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