The whole Arab Spring movement has woken America up to the fact that we've been propping up some pretty brutal leaders for a long, long time. Which leads us to the uncomfortable position of not having a clear ideological position.
While Oman continues to use its leverage to thwart a military confrontation in the Arabian Gulf, officials in Muscat have accepted that their influence is naturally limited, and they have taken actions to prepare for a scenario in which the Strait of Hormuz is closed.
It is no secret that Iran is developing its nuclear capacity in a clandestine and deceptive manner. Yet ironically it is our reaction to Iranian intransigence that is more likely to lead to an Iranian bomb. And it's not for the reasons that many have cited.
In more than 50 years, America's leaders have never made a move in Iran (or near it) that didn't lead to unexpected and unpleasant blowback. Now, another administration in Washington is preparing yet another set of clever maneuvers.
Like the Shah before him -- a man whose grave is in the heart of Cairo because he was refused burial in the nation of his birth -- Mubarak's speech indicated how out of touch he was with the reality of the people.
Today's protests are different. This is not about the West. It is about which revolutionary political camp will prevail in 2009 and a path that rejects the "secularism versus political Islam" dichotomy.