Freedom's Unsteady March: America's Role in Building Arab by Tamara Cofman Wittes

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 an integral part of any technique to in achieving long term American targets in that serious area. A risky blend of turning out to be populations, monetary stagnation, and political alienation poses a significant hazard to balance in modern day heart East. those forces are critically trying out the legitimacy and governability of key states resembling Egypt and Saudi Arabia, restricting their skill to paintings with the U.S. on local priorities comparable to stabilizing Iraq and struggling with terrorism. Freedom's Unsteady March exhibits why the US can't find the money 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 enhance freedom within the heart East. She diagnoses the roots of America's ambivalence approximately Arab democracy, and exhibits find out how to confront extra truthfully the hazards of swap and act extra successfully to comprise them.

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Enhancing Arab cooperation with American regional diplomacy would likely require Arab rulers to employ greater repression at home, reinforcing the claims of domestic opponents. -Arab cooperation must rest on a new foundation of partnership among the United States, moderate Arab governments, and their mostly moderate citizens—a partnership designed to produce a better future for the people of the Middle East. The risks of a concerted pro-democracy effort by the United States in the Arab world are real.

In the next chapter I examine this new reality and what it portends. qxd 2/12/08 7:41 PM Page 30 chapter three The Vanishing Status Quo I n a 2005 interview with Jeffrey Goldberg of the New Yorker, former national security advisor Brent Scowcroft argued that protecting the political status quo in the Arab world had been and remained the correct policy for the United States. ”1 Residents of the Middle East might quarrel with that characterization, for the years after 1948 witnessed five Arab-Israeli wars, wars or major civil conflicts in Yemen, Algeria, Jordan, and Lebanon, and a war between Iraq and its Persian neighbor, Iran.

In short, the political status quo in the region—the status quo on which America has long relied to protect its interests—has become unsustainable, and the coming years will see major changes in Arab politics. Undoubtedly some long-time Arab regimes will survive the coming storm, but they will not survive it unchanged. S. interests. Change does not mean, necessarily, democracy. Indeed, less progressive and more destabilizing options for Middle East political and social development are easy to imagine and perhaps more likely than democratization.

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