It has been difficult return to daily blogging about politics, economics, foreign events, and social commentary. Honestly, it has been wonderful not to watch the news on TV or pay attention to news articles in the newspapers. Since the joyous Republican victories in November, domestically nearly every event has been as I expected and hardly warranted comment. The spreading popular demonstrations in North Africa and the Middle East are interesting, but any hope that Muslims might embrace open societies, parliamentary electoral democracy with legalized opposition parties, and social freedom is tempered by my cautionary pessimism that Islamist totalitarianism is likely to be the victor in the political struggles of the coming year. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood represents perhaps 20% of the population, but this minority position is because the party was banned under Mubarak and its leaders in prison. Once legitimated, the Muslim Brotherhood will easily garner allegiance of 40% of the population and electorate and become the dominate political party. It is then only a matter of a few years before it whips the military (as Ergodan is subduing the military in Turkey) and takes control of the state. Will other Arab states fall to Islamism? Well, Saudi Arabia is already a fundamentalist Islamic society with barely a hint of liberalization. The royal family might fall, but the state will not become liberal, only more Islamist. And so it will go everywhere else. What can the US do to prevent this disaster, to prevent the entire Middle East ending up like Iran, Gaza, and Lebanon? Well, we won't prevent it by wishful thinking about democracy. The order of national Arab states with non-theological rulership, created in the Middle East at the end of World War I is falling apart. A Middle East dominated by Islamist totalitarian states will create a generation of destabilization, warfare against the West and Israel, and petroleum chaos. Smart countries, like China and India, are preparing to protect their national interests by rapidly building up their militaries. Dumb countries, like the US and Europe, are preparing to surrender their national interests by tearing down their militaries. Stay tuned. Eventually, this descent into disorder will become sufficiently interesting to bring me back to the keyboard.