The ongoing violence in Egypt's major city reminds us that authoritarian leaders and regimes are better at putting down rebellions. Although it remains to be seen how the situation will shake out in Egypt, the Muslim World is replete with examples of dictators crushing uprisings including Saddam's Iraq, the Taliban's Afghanistan Iran, and Syria.
The United States and its few allies have been combating a much more organized and dangerous form of violence for ten years: Militant Islamism. This is a coordinated effort by many thousands of Muslims who believe Islam commands them to rid the world of all infidels or everyone who does not believe as they do. This is not a political position that can be assuaged, bartered or compromised away as Western rulers want to believe.
What does this say about our long-term chances for success? As the film "Apocalypse Now" noted "Good does not always triumph over evil." The implication is that the forces of evil are willing and able to go to any lengths to prevail in the end and reasonable democratic leaders will eventually turn away from the abyss out of fear of becoming like the enemy. But was Rambo right? To win a war does one have to become war? Current events in Lebanon, Egypt, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran do not bode well for Western hopes of a peace or even coexistence. We seem to be fighting to not lose while our enemy is fighting for total victory whether that comes in the next year or in the next century.