A lot of international relations theories are being stress-tested by events in the Arab world right now, with some emerging better than others. Two in particular that are worth mentioning are Ian Bremmer's 2006 book, "The J Curve," which predicts a dangerous dip into instability when closed, authoritarian states attempt to open up to the world; and Evgeny Morozov's new book, "The Net Delusion," which critiques the notion that Internet connectivity is inherently democratizing. (In the interests of transparency, I work as a consultant for Bremmer's political risk consultancy, Eurasia Group, and penned a pre-publication blurb for Morozov's book.)
Both of these compelling theses carry a strong, "be careful what you wish for" warning that dovetails nicely with my own writings on globalization -- namely, when connectivity comes to town, things often get worse before they get better. That's why, for example, I titled my own first book, "The Pentagon's New Map" and not, say, "Wall Street's New Map."
Globalization's spread is often violent in the short term, because of its capacity to shake up existing orders. It's only after the connectivity goes broadband that pervasively spreading rules begin to circumscribe behavior, shifting a society or region from issues of zero-sum defense, for example, to nonzero-sum security.