The cross-section of different…and wildly different…views on the Egyptian revolution coming in from around the world boggles the mind. But then, the revolution flummoxed the world.

Whatever got published on Thursday night was already at least a bit outdated by Friday morning. But many still had salient points to consider.

The interest of the United States in Egypt is to avoid the worst case — chaos, or a takeover of the state by the Muslim Brotherhood. That means we should want a very deliberate process of transformation, playing out over an extended period rather than all in a rush in the coming weeks or months. The best way to buy time for careful change shepherded by the Egyptian military is to do as much as possible now to meet the protesters’ reasonable demands, beginning with Mubarak’s resignation.

Now that that first piece is in place, what next?

The former prime minister of Spain, Jose Maria Aznar, asks that question more pointedly in this compelling analyis.

What can we do to turn the year 2011 into the Arab world’s version of 1989, which brought freedom to the formerly communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe? And what can we do to prevent 2011 from becoming another 1979, when in Iran an autocracy was replaced with a theocracy? What role are free societies to play at this crucial moment for the world?

Whatever is necessary for the preservation of human dignity at the core of a free society.

There are no cultural or religious exceptions to man’s desire to live in freedom.

However…

Organizing for freedom is always harder than organizing against oppression.

So…

those of us who believe in open societies, in democracy and in freedom, have the obligation to help see that the changes unfolding in the region head in the right direction. In the direction that leads to the rejection of jihad as a political instrument. In the direction that leads to religious freedom, to pluralist democracy, to the acceptance of international law, to an opening to the world, and to respect for universal human rights.

And the lede of the commentary actually concludes it well.

In crises, the old is dying and the new has not been born. Hence, the revolts we are witnessing in Egypt and Tunisia, which may yet extend to other countries in the region, are full of uncertainties. But we in the West should stand by our core principles. As German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently said in Munich, “When it comes to human dignity, we cannot make compromises.”

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....