There is no predestination in human affairs, so it is impossible to predict what a post-Arab Spring Egypt will ultimately look like. It might well degenerate into a totalitarian theocracy more odious than the secular autocracy that the Egyptian people overthrew, as some neoconservative worrywarts warn. But as Shikha Dalmia observes, the run-up to the presidential election this week suggests that Egyptians are desperately looking for a system of checks and balances to keep authoritarians of every stripe at bay. This itself is reason to be cautiously optimistic about Egypt's future.
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