Both the US and ally Israel are concerned by the prospect of states whose policies may be formulated based on the desires of their people – potentially giving fuller expression to Islamist forces – rather than the deals their rulers make with other nations.
But while pro-democracy protesters may have a bad word for US support of their dictators, they're mostly focused on the regimes at home.
The Arab world is far from homogeneous. There are different cultures, different dialects, and different economic factors at play. But Egypt has clearly created a new sense of what's possible.
In Tunisia and Egypt, the military and ruling party appear to have bet that by sacrificing their dictators they could negotiate a transition in which their roles and privileges would be largely preserved.
How other states negotiate that quandary will do much to signal whether more revolutions will follow – and what results they will bring. Jones of Rutgers says he's not yet convinced that the current ferment will bring a a real democratic opening.
"It's not that I want to be right, it's just for reasons of historical precedent it's hard to be optimistic," he says. "Even in Egypt, the hard work remains in front of them, and often the people who start revolutions aren't the ones to finish them."
But Bahrain's Sunni monarchy looks particularly vulnerable in the face of an increasingly restless Shiite majority.
The tiny island nation, located in the Persian Gulf between Saudi Arabia and Iran, is home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet and critical to broader regional operations – including deterrence of Iranian aggression.