If you are a student of politics and social media you must be in awe of how it is playing a role in the attempted overthrow of Egypt’s President Mubarak. How technology is beginning to undo what decades of power hungry despots have held together through fear and torture is amazing.
We’ve known for years that the Middle East’s Arab countries are a powder keg cobbled together by either Islamic extremists or despotic rulers. As a nation, we’ve been willing to work with these rulers while looking the other way on their terrible record on human rights. Now, the old Domino Theory that JFK used to justify America’s involvement is back in the Middle East as these despots no longer fear armed opponents, but middle class throngs of people united for freedom using American-made social media to unite them.
Mubarak will likely fall and no one knows whether he will be replaced with a freedom-loving democracy or Islamic extremists, but the Saudis, Jordanians and Syrians are now quaking in their boots for fear that something as simple as a Facebook page or cell phone could be the weapon that takes them down after all.
The fearful part of these events involves which way these governments fall. Have we supported these governments so long that our American-made social networks actually work against us.