The Arab Spring is worrisome on several levels. It seems that few in the Western World understand the dynamics of the area and American foreign policy over several administrations seems to be based more on wishful thinking (my opinion)than any true understanding of how things work. There is a reason why these countries have been unstable for generations if not for centuries. The Ottomans ruled this area for 500 years but did so with an iron hand and disagreements and disagreeable people were dealt with harshly. The Arab world is tribal in nature with fierce opposition between tribes. Khadafi (sp) in Libya is hanging on to power because his military is drawn from and led by his tribe. The opposition is not some group or groups of people grasping for freedom and democratic government, these are people who think it is time for their tribe(s) to rule. Once Khadafi is out nothing will change and in fact there is a high probability that Al Qaeda could seize power because of the fragmented opposition to Khadafi.
The West and America in particular seems to labor under the misconception that the Arab World is in turmoil because the people want representative government and freedom. There is nothing in the history of this region that would lead any thinking person to that conclusion. Even if "democratic" governments come out of these conflicts they will not resemble any democratic government that would be recognizable by the average American. Their press will be controlled, the government will be corrupt, the legal system will be controlled, there will be no freedom of religion,no freedom of speech, and in general what will emerge is the usual Islamic strongman dictator clinging to power for life or at least for decades.
America is withdrawing from Iraq leaving behind a fragile "democratic" government. It is unlikely that government will survive and very likely that a civil war will occur driven by Al Sadr and other religious leaders. It will be Sunni versus Shia and tribe against tribe with the Christians and Kurds playing a minor role. People seem to forget that the British and French tried to bring democratic governments to this area following WW I and it failed. Those goverments collapsed into strong man dictatorships run by "Presidents" for life. The best thing America can do now is to cut our losses and leave these people to sort it out for themselves. The alternative would be to stop playing this ridiculous game of moral superiority and attempting to establish our rules over them. They regard our freedoms and rules as weaknesses and act accordingly. A few public executions, mass bombings, and an emasculation or two would send the only kind of message these people understand because those are their rules and the rules they understand.
The upheaval in the Arab world is driving out dictators who supported America but what they are being replaced by may be -- and probably will be -- much worse for American security than what it has been under the dictators. Egypt is abandoning their peaceful coexistence with Israel, Syria is in play over Lebanon and Israel. The Iranians are pushing their anti-west and anti-Israel agendas in the background. Our foreign policy is non-existent or at least doesn't give the appearance of being a coherent policy.