One of the few good points about getting old is that you can sometimes put events into historical perspective. The really smart people write books about such comparisons; the rest of us tell our friends and write a blog.
That brings me to the situation in the Arab world right now.
Back in 1989 or so, the Eastern Bloc nations were crumbling one by one. You could literally turn on the television each night and find out about the progress of yet another Soviet satellite falling off the edge into democracy. For those of us who thought the Cold War would last forever, it was a pretty interesting time.
We're going through something like that now. First Tunisia, then Egypt fell. Libya is closing in on joining them.
What we might not remember now is how peacefully that collapse in Eastern Europe took place. There were no major conflicts, no large amount of bloodshed seen. That's in spite of the fact that there are some rather nasty dictators involved.
I'd submit that this was not an accident, and that then President Bush had something to do with how those events took place. It was a delicate process, and it was handled nicely as it turned out. I don't think Bush got enough credit for that, which is one of the reasons why he is currently an underrated President.
President Obama is currently learning that some heads of state won't go so quietly into the night. We know Col. Gadhafi is a little nuts, and sometimes he doesn't want to go where he's pushed. And, he's not above shooting his own people.
It's a tough job, and there may be false steps taken along the way. So let's remember that the outside world at least has an historical example on how to do this right.