Authoritarian rulers can survive for the life span of the strong man in charge, but rarely longer. As the strong man ages -- Hosni Mubarek, in the case of Egypt, who is now 82 -- the potential energy of the suppressed population begins to leak out, gradually at first, and then more quickly, until it explodes. But what's happening in Egypt this week is not romantic, not a beautiful upsurging of democracy and freedom. People want a say in how they are ruled, sure, but sometimes people -- the masses, so to speak -- want something even more authoritative, even more compelling. In Egypt, the masses want sharia, I fear; they want an Islamic state along the lines of Iran, and heaven help the secular middle classes or the Coptic Christians. Egypt and Turkey for a long time have been the most moderate of the predominantly Muslim countries in Eurasia and the Middle East. Those times are ending. We ride the whirlwind, for the near future anyway.