A spectre is haunting the first world — democracy in its hinterlands.
That is why those first-world states intervened so quickly to snuff out the threat of democracy in Iran in 1953 (oil), Chile in 1973 (copper), the Congo in 1961 (all kinds of resources), and many other places.
Democracy in a big country like Egypt threatens also to destabilize dictatorships in neighboring countries, by example and possibly even by deed. It's contagious. Once started out there in a new environment such as Islamic North Africa and Western Asia (long thought immune to the disease), democracy could spread until it undermines the whole structure of inequality that allows us in the first world to spend so freely and waste so carelessly and forget about challenging the system. It's a real worry. We could end up living more like the Egyptians. And the Egyptians more like us.
Mideast Allies Press U.S. to Go Slow on Egypt - NYTimes.com