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A nation must think before it acts.
In January 2011, when the Arab protest movements were just beginning in Tunisia and Egypt, few experts predicted the speed and extent of their spread. Fewer still suggested that there were significant analogies to the wave of post-communist revolutions that swept through Europe and Eurasia starting in 1989. However, such comparisons have become more frequent as the uprisings have continued. This article examines whether the current uprisings and political ferment in the Arab world have enough in common with the transitions that began two decades ago in Eastern Europe to provide useful analytical and policy comparisons.