Henry Kissinger offers his views on the Arab Spring:
For more than half a century, U.S. policy in the Middle East has been guided by several core security objectives: preventing any power in the region from emerging as a hegemon; ensuring the free flow of energy resources, still vital to the operation of the world economy; and attempting to broker a durable peace between Israel and its neighbors, including a settlement with the Palestinian Arabs.
Kissinger is wary about backing revolutionary regimes in the region lest they upset the apple cart with respect to these core objectives, but I think the Arab Spring and nascent civil wars in Syria and Libya represent an important occasion to re-conceptualize U.S. policy toward the region.
There are two predominate and competing impulses when it comes to America's approach to the Arab Spring - either we back democracy, come what may, to be on the right side of history and the Middle East's true aspirations. Or we back the forces of stability (and repression) to safeguard our core objectives and keep Islamist movements at bay.
Both of these impulses reflect a desire to meddle in affairs that cannot really be controlled by outside powers. In the Cold War context, a degree of interference in Middle Eastern affairs had a strategic rationale. Today, there is arguably much less of a need.
Consider Kissinger's list of "core" security requirements. The only item on his list that could seriously damage U.S. interests would be if oil were no longer flowing from the Middle East. Who lives where, in and around Israel's borders and which country exercises greater power relative to other states in the region are really subordinate concerns. Stated in this way, the U.S. really has one simple "requirement" from the region and it just so happens to align neatly with the economic interests (indeed, the very survival) of any regime of any ideological disposition in the Middle East.
Any attempts to press the scales of internal development probably won't work - the U.S. couldn't predict the Arab Spring before it sprung and is unlikely to be smart enough or well-positioned enough to guide it to an acceptable end point. Our interference will, at best, generate resentment among the very people we're attempting to help (or marginalize) and at worst, instigate violence. We shouldn't insist on making our Middle East policy more complicated than it needs to be.