The danger of making predictions became glaringly apparent in 2011, as easy assumptions about the apathy of Egyptians, the chances for gradual reform in
Policymakers and researchers have been seeking to better understand the structural factors that have underlain the unrest and transitions -- demographic and social changes, globalization and the widening of inequalities, struggles over the distribution of the benefits of economic growth, and the impact of better education and freer information on expectations and ideas -- while also looking at the human choices, moments of inspiration and sheer errors that have determined the precise outcome of these various trends in each specific country.
The human element remains key. The loosening of the grip of the old order is taking place partly because of one of the quintessential human characteristics, mortality.
Within five weeks in the summer, three of the pillars of the 20th century Arab security state system passed away in quick succession.
The next day, it was announced that
In a part of the world where power is heavily concentrated in the hands of a few, health and mortality may continue to bring surprises in the year ahead.
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(c) 2012 Tribune Media Services, Inc.