Anyone who witnessed how Russia's "Snow Revolution" of 2011 and 2012 fizzled can confidently predict the failure of the Taksim riots in Turkey.

In recent years, mass protests in authoritarian states have succeeded only where the rioters had little or nothing to lose, and so were prepared to unleash serious violence. That wasn't the case in Moscow, and it isn't the case in Istanbul, where the majority of the protesters are relatively prosperous members of the middle class.

Tragic as the death tolls of the Arab Spring rebellions are, they provide an indicator of the poverty-fueled rage, amplified by religious fundamentalism, that set those events apart. In Libya, more than 30,000 died in clashes that resulted in the public torture and killing of dictator Moammar Gadhafi. In Egypt, 846 perished; in Tunisia and Yemen, more than 200 each. Syria, where the outcome is unclear, has seen tens of thousands of deaths.