Democracy will not come to the Middle East through foreign intervention, sanctimonious statements, voluntary reforms by autocrats, or armed struggle by a self-selected vanguard. It will only come through the power of people.
As with other civil struggles, a nonviolent movement can ebb and flow. There may have to be tactical retreats, times for resetting of strategy, or a focus on negotiations, before broader operations that capture the world's attention resume.
As long as the U.S. remains the world's No. 1 supplier of security assistance to repressive governments in the Middle East and elsewhere, the need for massive nonviolent action in support for freedom and democracy may be no greater than Egypt.
Obama's apparent shift away from the Mubarak regime -- like the similar reversal in US policy toward the Ben Ali regime in Tunisia a couple weeks ago -- serves as an important reminder as to where power actually comes from.
Morocco has been able to persist in flouting its international legal obligations toward Western Sahara largely because France and the United States have continued to arm Moroccan occupation forces and blocked enforcement of resolutions.
Although hip-hop in America has become largely dominated by consumer culture, the roots of the form remain strong and have spread abroad, from ghetto to ghetto, as a common tool of resistance and cultural affirmation.
G20 activists have done a poor job of making their demands known. The array of groups and issues present at G20 demonstrations confuses the public and rather than try to figure out how all the issues are connected.