Tyler Cowen notes the odd treatment of Arab dictators’ wives, in this instance Asma Assad.

Hey, it’s all fun and shopping until her husband starts shelling Homs. Maybe a reality show?

Unfortunately, as we’re seeing in Libya, Egypt, etc., the area’s pathology and Obama’s apathy are such that the revolutions in the Mideast are not going to bring about much freedom, because the people have the mistaken notion that repressive Islamic theocracy is going to solve the problems of repressive Arab nationalism. As we saw in Iraq, the mosque has been the natural center of resistance to these regimes, because it’s the one place the autocrats can’t control, and there are no liberal institutions to speak of.

Iranians, of course, already had that revolution in 1979, and they know better — theirs is now a liberal revolution. Iraqis mostly figured it out from 2005-2007 and have been trending secular. One can hope places like Egypt will learn quickly (democracy is a process, not an event, and particularly a learning process for the electorate) before the electoral process is rigged and free speech stifled, as in Iran, but there aren’t a lot of reasons for optimism at the moment.