By Tamara Cofman Wittes
President George W. Bush meant to deliver democracy to the center East, however the early effects have been dispiriting. After stalemate in Iraq and the electoral good fortune of Hamas, many observers concluded that the pursuit of Arab democracy used to be a fool's errand. regardless of those setbacks, Tamara Cofman Wittes argues that democracy advertising within the Arab global continues to be a vital part of any technique to in attaining long term American ambitions in that severe zone. A risky blend of growing to be populations, financial stagnation, and political alienation poses a major possibility to balance in present day center East. those forces are significantly checking out the legitimacy and governability of key states comparable to Egypt and Saudi Arabia, proscribing their skill to paintings with the U.S. on neighborhood priorities akin to stabilizing Iraq and fighting terrorism. Freedom's Unsteady March indicates why the US can't have the funds for to be impartial or passive within the face of the momentous adjustments happening in Arab states and why it needs to wield its strength and impact in aid of democratic reform. Wittes additionally dissects the Bush administration's failure to strengthen freedom within the center East. She diagnoses the roots of America's ambivalence approximately Arab democracy, and exhibits how one can confront extra truthfully the dangers of switch and act extra successfully to comprise them.
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Extra info for Freedom's Unsteady March: America's Role in Building Arab Democracy
Yet the existence of such conflicts does not entirely preclude American efforts to advance political rights and freedoms. 9 In the short term, however, conflicts often arise between steps that would advance the pursuit of democracy and other steps that could or should be taken in pursuit of nearer-term objectives. -Arab trade may favor near-term decisions with tangible benefits at the expense of the long-term, amorphous goal of democratization. The problem in practice is that promoting a transition to democracy in an autocratic country is always a long-term objective whose progress is difficult to assess.
21 Easy income from oil and strategic rents, the prevailing climate of superpower competition, and the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict all facilitated the growth of sizable military establishments and large security services in Arab states, enabling the second leg of our authoritarian triangle, state repression. Military and security forces, financed through external rents, served as important arenas for domestic employment and socialization of young people, tying citizens ever more tightly to government-provided sustenance.
Many, though not all, Arab states can maintain authoritarian political structures, scholars note, for the simple reason that they do not rely for state income on taxation of the citizenry. ”16 This traditional linkage between taxation and the demand for representation, which helped inspire the American Revolution, breaks down in the Arab Middle East, where oil resources, nationalization of foreign industries, and foreign aid have all been sources of revenue that were not reliant on citizen compliance.
Freedom's Unsteady March: America's Role in Building Arab Democracy by Tamara Cofman Wittes