Every lover of liberty will share in the exhilaration of the Egyptian people after the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak. A revolt by students, young professionals and workers ousted a dictator who had ruled his country in the guise of a democrat for 30 years. It may be that intervention by the military was the immediate cause of Mubarak's dramatic turnabout the day after he refused to step down, but there's no question that the primary authors of his overthrow were the Egyptian people. Friday was the climax of that rare thing: a popular and peaceful revolution.
How — and even if — that revolution will be translated into a broad-based, democratic government isn't clear. The Egyptian military, to which Mubarak ceded power, must enact constitutional reforms necessary for free and fair elections, and it must broaden the negotiations with opposition figures that began in the waning days of the Mubarak regime. It will be a profound betrayal — for Egyptians and their supporters all around the world — if the result of this revolution is another military dictatorship, even a "benign" one that clamps down on corruption and promotes economic reforms. As President Obama said Friday, the next step in Egypt must be "nothing less than genuine democracy."