As pro-democracy demonstrations flourish across the Middle East and North Africa, the general concensus among western laymen is to cheer the demonstrators on from their armchairs, as they watch people in far away lands dodging rocks and ducking bullets, as they seek democracy.
Democracy is a good thing, right?
Well...that depends on how you look at it.
Being sort of democratic, the west promotes democracy, decrying all other systems of government as being universally 'evil.'
But they aren't really thinking things through as they cheer on the folks in Tahrir Square, Tripoli, Bahrain or Tunisia. They're missing the point that the demonstrations are orchestrated largely by Islamic groups with the intention of overthrowing leaders who have been subservient to the West. Even Gadaffi fits neatly that category these days.
The majority of citizens of these countries want to see the back of pro-western puppet leaders, it follows that these leaders should stand down and accede to the will of the majority.
Consider the principle of democracy - government of the people, by the people, for the people. So the puppet leaders step down, the majority takes over the reins of power, and everybody's happy.
You have to be kidding yourself if you think these 'new' democracies will work hand in hand with the west. Many of them are fundamentally opposed to everything we do, the way we live, the freedoms we enjoy - the reality is that many of these people are disaffected, and bitterly resent the lifestyles we enjoy, because they made much if it possible by virtue of their oil reserves, with only a tiny minority raking in the cash rewards.
The first thing a lot of these fledgeling governments are going to do is demand ever increasing amounts of money for their oil. They could cripple the west if they so desired, because no matter what, we still rely on them for that most valuable natural resource - oil.
The price of fuel to power your car will rocket, energy prices will go through the roof, food prices will soar, hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost, and cheap travel will no longer be an option.
That's the worst case scenario, admittedly, but it could happen. The west could be held to ransom. In pretty much the same way as the west has held these nations to ransom for years.
So, smile when you get laid off. Smile when petrol/gasoline costs $30 a gallon. Smile when you're paying $10 for a loaf of bread.
It's all about democracy - so it's all good.