Saturday, March 19, 2011

Change, its been a long time coming and now is a time for rethinking of paradigms

 Challenging conventional wisdom:
"The pressures for political reform are being felt across the Middle East--which is not to argue that ruling autocrats are contemplating retirement cottages in Provence. Those who rule do not savor conceding power. Nonetheless, sharing power through inclusionary reform is a means of preserving some power. Even in Libya the resident eccentric, Muammar Qaddafi, has been moving along the path of reform. Strategies of inclusion will obviously vary, and reverses are to be expected. The path of reform is strewn with risks for the present leaders and for the opposition, as well as for outside players. Nonetheless, if the perils of reform invite anxiety, the dangers of clinging to the authoritarian status quo are even more unsettling."  ("The Challenge of Inclusion in the Middle East," Current History, Jan. 1995)
"The simple ideas that people should have a voice in decisions that affect their lives, that governments should respond to citizens' needs, that people have a right not to be mistreated by their rulers seems to provoke little controversy, except, that is, until we come to the Middle East, and, particularly, the Arab world. There democracy is said to have no resonance at all given the emerging social forces of Islamic populism." ("Inclusion can deflate Islamic Populism," New Perspectives Quarterly, 1993). 
"More important, anger is certainly a by-product of the frustration that grips many Muslim societies, where one’s life chances are stymied by rigid political systems and stale economies that resist reform. The United States is often resented for propping up unpopular and corrupt regimes rather than prodding them to change their ways. Despite considerable Washington rhetoric about promoting democracy in the world, American policymakers have preferred assured stability to the promotion of freedom and reform in the Middle East." ("America's Approach to the Middle East, Current History, Jan. 2002). 

No comments: