David Rothkopf

Who’s the most shaken up by Egypt’s uprising?

While the political earthquake rumbling through the Middle East began in Tunisia, when the people took to the streets in Egypt, unrest became a trend rather than an isolated event. In addition, Egypt’s unique role among states in the region — historically and due to the size of its population — amplified the importance of ...

MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images
MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images

While the political earthquake rumbling through the Middle East began in Tunisia, when the people took to the streets in Egypt, unrest became a trend rather than an isolated event. In addition, Egypt’s unique role among states in the region — historically and due to the size of its population — amplified the importance of the demonstrations that have filled the streets of Cairo, Alexandria, and the rest of the country for this past week.

Even before President Mubarak’s decision to end his 30-year rule, Egypt’s crisis had earned the undivided attention of leaders across the Middle East. King Abdullah of Jordan’s sacking of his cabinet and Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s announcement that he too was not going to seek to extend his three-decade-long tenure in office indicated that both men recognized the fuse that was lit in North Africa was connected to stacks of dynamite on which they were sitting.

But it could well be that the forces unleashed by these unlikely people-power revolutions are just starting to be felt. Countries and leaders around the world are wondering aloud what this means for them. Some more than others. Here are the 10 people (outside Egypt and Tunisia) most unsettled by the past week’s developments.

10. Xi Jinping
China’s vice president and the anointed successor to China’s president, Hu Jintao, is a princeling, a son of the country’s revolutionary leadership who has worked himself up through Fujian, Zheijang, and Shanghai provinces to be on the verge of taking over a rising superpower. Looking to Egypt he must wonder, however, whether that will be a blessing or a curse. Will he lead the next chapter of China’s emergence, or will he be faced by popular resistance to a political structure that is incompatible with the openness and freedoms required of a burgeoning modern economy? Street demonstrations are nothing new to China … the question is whether street demonstrations plus new communications technologies plus growing aspirations are a formula for unrest in the world’s most populous nation. …

For the rest of: The Really Bad Week: Egypt Edition

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