So what to make of Egypt, Libya, etc. It reminds me some of 1989 when the Eastern Bloc communists fell rather quickly.
Unfortunately I don't have as much optimism for the emerging post-strongman era in the middle east. I'm not sure what to expect will come out of it. Maybe not a lot of good for us here in the west.
I remember the good old days back in school in like the 80s. Pretty much every month in Africa or South America it would be something. Dictator of the month here. Coup there. Military junta somewhere else. And we would snicker at them. But it didn't matter safe and sound here at home. It was just trouble in a faraway land.
And that's how I want to feel about the middle east. Unfortunately because we depend on their oil we don't have the luxury to leave them to their folly. So we need to do what we've needed to do since at least 1973. Break the dependence on their oil. Yes that means mine coal, we need to drill oil and we need to go nuclear. And I know what's going on in the gulf of Mexico and Japan. Still we need to do it.
These people are not reliable partners. They proved it in 1973, in 1990, on 9/11, and they continue to prove it today. Plus they despise us as kafirs.
The thing about oil is that the barrel price is not accurate as it does not account for externalities such as wars. If the true cost was counted then that would make home developed energy very competitive.