It was transitioning from Austria to Jordan that led to my grandfather's stress heart attacks and his being retired from the diplomatic corp as disabled. They gave him an apology and sent him home to die. Much to his surprise, he lived for along time afterwards.
He later remarked that if he had only known he was going to live he would have started a second career or done more.
That said, this: http://www.wheatandtares.org/2011/10/15/did-the-arab-spring-just-come-to-washington/ is a brilliant post. You could easily map everyone of the points to a fictional world and use it for a scenario, but you can also look at it to understand what is going on behind the scenes right now.
A political aside. Completely off point. Two things could save Obama's presidency. If gas drops back to $2.50 a gallon or so (which, at the current price of oil, is actually what one might expect). If the free trade agreements get implemented. NAFTA saved Bill Clinton's presidency (which, it appears, was one of the best we've had in a while, in terms of balanced budges, legislation that actually ended up improving lives, and such -- though a longer perspective is needed) because of what it did for the economy.
Economic surges are kryptonite to presidents if they go the right way, like magic if they go the other.
I'm not going to get into the way people have created such surges in the past, the impact of wars or many, many other things. Though I do remember, one day, getting gas at seventy-five cents a gallon under Bill Clinton.
Just meandering. Ignore all of this post except the link.