The unrest that toppled the Tunisian strongman earlier this month has gone viral and hit Egypt, where it's US-backed Big Man, Hosni Mubarak, is hanging by a thread. The viral nature of early 2011's events remind me of the events of 1989, where much of Eastern Europe ditched the Soviet yoke and moved towards democracies, many (notably the Czech Republic and Poland) with a neoliberal lean to their politics.
Those were Good Things, where the liberal/neocon vision of all people regardless of race or creed wanting what the folks in the Anglosphere want held true. That isn't always the case when the people have had enough of a Big Man.
If we go back a decade from the fall of the Berlin Wall, we see another vision of what can happen when a Big Man falls; there was widespread protest against the Shah of Iran in 1979, with critiques coming both from Western-friendly reformers and from Shia militants. The early moves saw a move towards democratic reforms, but were quickly overrun by the move to put the ayatollahs in charge, a move that has left Iran in a bounded-democratic theocracy for the last three decades.
David Warren and Ross Douthat have some interesting pieces on Egypt in the hopper, both warning against leaning too much into the happy-face side of things. The news of the day has a loose coalition of reformers, led by former nuke chief Mohamed ElBarade, working with the Islamist-leaning Muslim Brotherhood in the anti-government protests. The latter is a bit scary, since the MB folks gave us both the ideological boss of al Qaeda as well as one of the 9/11 kamikaze pilots.
The optimist would hope that the radicals will calm down once they are part of the political process (they're currently stomped on by Mubarak) and be less radical once they are in the tent wizzing out. The realists will worry about them taking over a frail democracy much as Hezbollah has done in Lebanon.
To top that steaming bowl of unknown unknowns off, let's not forget the Coptic community in Egypt. For all of Mubarak's flaws, they have not been overly hostile to their Christians. That would likely change if the MB tries to force conversions or otherwise drive the Copts underground or out of the country.
Change isn't always good and the devil you know can be better than the devil you don't know. Lots of prayer concerns, not too many good answers.