Hey look: the revolution is not only a spectator sport

From the print edition, my column, which carries the headline “What Canada Can Do About Libya” and is mostly about what Canada can do about Egypt. I try to make a few simple points I haven’t seen argued in a lot of the coverage about the North African upheaval:

• There’s a reason why Paul Martin and other guys were lining up to shake Gadhafi’s hand a few years ago. Those actions were dictated by an analysis and a strategy. If you don’t like it, that’s OK: the basis of the strategy — the notion that populations in the region were irrelevant to the decisions of their leaders — has now fallen apart.

• What comes next, weeks or months from now, can go very badly or quite well.

• Canada has a vital security interest in it going well. Chaos in that part of the world is best avoided if possible.

• Local populations will make the big decisions, but Canadians can help, and obviously should.

• The key to the whole region is Egypt, with 13 times Libya’s population.