Most observers and analysts are still marking the events in Egypt as a victory for protestors, and declaring the path now clear for a peaceful transition to democratic government.
But as the situation turns increasingly tense, and occasionally ugly, it’s not surprising that there are darker interpretations emerging.
Robert Springborg, Professor of national security affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School in the US, has the darkest conclusion of all: the protestors have already lost their battle for democracy.
Paradoxically the popular uprising has even ensured that the presidential succession will not only be engineered by the military, but that an officer will succeed Mubarak.
Thus, he says, whatever follows now will not be democracy, but business as usual.
The military will now enter into negotiations with opposition elements that it chooses. The real opposition will initially be ignored, and then possibly rounded up.
It’s a sobering analysis, and worth reading in full. For now, Springborg seems to be in the minority, but as Steve Walt points out, revolutions rarely turn out the way people expect.