I have been thinking quite a bit about the “Arab Spring” recently. Back in 2007 our family spent three weeks traveling around Egypt (Cairo, Alexandria, the White Desert, Luxor and Hagarda) and we feel an affinity for the area because of our time there.
Strauss and Howe have pointed out that the Arab world (and Europe for that matter) lag behind the US in their generational cycle by about 5 years or so. But the changes going on in the Middle East seem a lot more like the Third Turning (Unraveling) of the 1960’s rather than a Fourth Turning (Crisis). But that may just be on the surface. The “agitators” in the Arab Spring sound a lot like our Millennial (born 1982-2004) rather than Boomer (born 1943-1960). The establishment they are forcing out or protesting against are Silent (born 1925-1942) in many cases – which is different than our leadership in the US (we have never had a Silent Generation president and probably never will). This article from CNN implies that the Arab youth are like the Freedom Riders of the 60’s.
I do wonder whether they are on an entirely different cycle than the US. The outcome of the Arab Spring will be telling in that regard. If it continues to escalate and results in a remaking of the institutions in the next 10-15 years, then they are part of the same Crisis cycle we are in. If it degenerates into social chaos and prolonged instability then they are headed where we were in 70’s and 80’s. I certainly hope for the former.