With Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak gone and the military made the provisional governmental authority, there is trepidation and uncertainty worldwide about what will come next.

Some assume that Egypt’s military will act as other militaries in the Middle East have when placed in positions of authority; that is, they will refuse to relinquish power, and institute an authoritarian regime.

Others postulate that the military will, as promised, ensure a peaceful transition of power and install a democratic regime.

No matter which course history takes, it is bound to have far-reaching consequences both for the region and for the world.

The military’s course is the essential indicator for Egypt’s future. Unlike the military in other countries like Pakistan, Egypt’s is generally more liberal and less religious than the executive branch.

The second option, then — the ushering in of a democratic regime — seems more likely. The results of that option, though, are far from certain and could have repercussions for both the United States and the region.

Egypt currently receives around $155 million annually in economic aid from the United States and $1.5 billion in military aid, second only to Israel in the region. The aid is a reflection of the close relationship the United States and Egypt have enjoyed for the past three decades.

The American-Egyptian alliance was largely a result of Mubarak’s obsequious relationship with the United States, and less indicative of some fraternal bond between the two countries. Now that he has been ousted, the relationship has been put in jeopardy.

While it is unrealistic to expect Egypt to break off any and all contact with the U.S. — Egypt still relies heavily on the United States in a number of areas — a chill in at least some of the more public channels of communication could be coming.

Whoever takes power (assuming they come to power by democratic means) will likely want to distance themselves from the old regime. The perception that the West controlled Egyptian policy rankled the Egyptian public, so the new regime may start there.

That said, Egypt is likely to remain a key ally in the region. There has been some consternation over the possibility of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty being voided by an incoming administration — particularly if the Muslim Brotherhood takes a prominent role in the coalition — but those fears are overblown.

First, the military leaders presiding over the change in governance have promised to keep the treaty in place. Second: Even if the Muslim Brotherhood were to take power, they are not as anti-Israel and anti-West as some may believe.

The Brotherhood, which is certainly no friend to either country, has interests constricted largely to Egypt. On top of that, any incoming government would be loath to do something as radical as break off diplomatic ties with either the United States or Israel for fear of sending another wave of instability through the country.

Some have made claims that a Brotherhood takeover would be similar to the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Both the Brotherhood’s ideology and Egypt’s historical place in the status-quo, pro-West bloc — along with Saudi Arabia and Jordan — make an Islamic revolution unlikely.

So Egypt is not likely to make any sudden, overt changes in policy.

But there are some worrisome possibilities. First, should the Muslim Brotherhood take power, its status as the progenitor of Hamas means it will be friendly to the Gazan Palestinian faction. Any overt aid, and perhaps even opening diplomatic channels with Hamas, could hurt ties with Israel.

Second, shockwaves are still rippling around the region, and could circle back to Egypt. Another uprising could be more violent than the present one, and produce another leader loath to accept democratic rule.

For now, though, the signs are mostly good: The military, a vaunted institution in Egypt, is exercising power in a responsible manner. If a democratic government is indeed implemented and succeeds in Egypt, which is perhaps the most influential country in the region, a sort of “domino effect” could occur, producing more democratic governments in the Middle East — something it desperately needs.

Green shoots are indeed showing through, and they hold portents positive for both Egypt and the region in general. A new era of stability and vox populi in the Middle East may very well be upon us.