And Egypt may be the best case. In other countries, things are worse—much worse. In Bahrain, repression prevails with little prospect of a minority-Sunni monarchy accommodating the political and economic needs of a Shia majority.

In Yemen the strongman is gone, but tribal rivalries and a fractious military reflecting societal divides will make a strong, accountable and stable political system almost impossible to achieve. An active Al Qaeda presence, a southern insurgency and northern separatism will guarantee a boiling pot for years to come.

Over a year of repression, insurgency and sectarian conflict has brought Syria no closer to answering the question of who or what will replace the Assads. And there’s no reason to believe—given Egypt’s travails—that the struggle for Syria is nearly over.

Real power sharing requires a commitment by politicians and publics to a national vision designed to further the common good and respected institutions that govern political behavior. None of this is yet evident.