Middle East Democracy Promotion Is Not a One-way Street

Marina Ottaway

The U.S. administration is under pressure to revive democracy promotion efforts in the Middle East,but momentum toward political reform has stalled in most of the region. Opposition parties are at lowebb, and governments are more firmly in control than ever. While new forms of activism, such as laborprotests and a growing volume of blogging critical of government and opposition parties have becomewidespread, they have yet to prove effective as means of influencing leaders to change long-standingpolicies.The last time a U.S. administration faced such unfavorable circumstances in advancing political reformswas over 30 years ago, when the Helsinki process was launched during the Cold War. That experiencetaught us that the United States needs to give reluctant interlocutors something they want if itexpects them to engage on issues they would rather not address. If Washington wants Arab countriesto discuss the universal democratic principles that should underpin their political systems, it needs to beprepared to discuss the universal principles that should underpin its own Middle East policies.

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Filed Under: EgitoEventos & NotíciasDestaqueHamasIrmandade MuçulmanaPalestinaEstudos & PesquisasEstados Unidos & Europa

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