The Mubarak regime as it has existed for the last decade -- an increasingly corrupt and incompetent government that has conferred immense economic advantages on a handful of politically connected businessmen -- has been shattered. A more open political system and a responsive government that ensures its own safety by trimming back the power and privileges of the military could still emerge. And the army may step in as a transitional power and recognize that, as much as it might like to, it cannot return to complete control. The Egyptian military is far more professional and educated than it was in the 1950s, so many officers may recognize the benefits of a democracy. More likely, however, is the culmination of the slow-motion coup and the return of the somewhat austere military authoritarianism of decades past.
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