There is some indication that the Obama administration may be pursuing a new approach to development, one moving away from military-led development projects  and toward a more independent USAID that will include in its new strategy an effort to reduce poor governance. Some analysts stress that the Arab regimes have shown themselves to be increasingly intransigent with regards to reform in recent years,  a trend that could require a re-evaluation of U.
American democracy promotion in the MENA region has been a highly analyzed and criticized component of both U. Criticism focuses in general on the following challenges for American DG efforts: effectiveness, aid prioritization, selectivity, financing, and discourse and objectivity. Critical perspectives on U. The more serious criticism of American DG work in the region is that it can lead to more harm than good.
By focusing on funding civil society organizations, foreign donors can create dependency "at the expense of building a domestic democratic movement" and open NGOs up to criticism from their compatriots, not least from the state, which can use foreign funding as justification for cracking down on activists and democracy proponents, such as Saad Eddin Ibrahim and Ayman Nour in Egypt. The same logic is applied to women's political participation.
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Heba Raouf Ezzat questions the utility of promoting women's involvement and normalization of authoritarian regimes: "In Egypt, Morocco, Bahrain, Qatar and other countries the official support of women as ministers or executives or even judges serves only to obscure the rising authoritarianism of the regimes that is veiled by soft democratic rhetoric limited to the vocal level or reduced to trivial changes that are curbed by logistic and legal details. No power-sharing is taking place and political elites are well determined to monopolize authority.
A second dilemma for U. Critics say the priorities of Western aid must be viewed as a whole, and therefore question the vastly greater amounts spent on military aid than democracy aid. Massive foreign aid to countries like Jordan and Egypt, for example, gives regimes the ability to both co-opt and repress their populations by supporting state job and economic infrastructures and funding state security apparatuses. While some U. Another dilemma for MENA democracy promotion projects aimed at engaging civil society is that they often end up selectively working with NGOs that are seen as non-threatening to regimes and not in opposition to the donor's policy in the region — thus largely ruling out work with Islamist civil society groups for U.
It may also be a matter of U. Some, such as Laurie Mylroie, suggest that democracy and Islamic tradition are incompatible, and illiberal Islamists may be worse than the current authoritarian regimes although she suggests it may be useful for the United States to promote human rights and democracy in certain parts of the Middle East to oppose dictators such as Saddam Hussein. While it may be impossible to come to a reliable conclusion on Islamist moderation through democratic participation while political freedom is absent,  Amr Hamzawy and Nathan Brown point out that despite ambiguity on commitment to democracy, the political experience of Islamist movements across the Arab world suggest three rising trends: "respect for the institutional framework of the state in which they operate; acceptance of plurality as a legitimate mode of political existence; and a gradual retreat from ideological debates in favor of a growing concentration on pragmatic agendas that are primarily concerned with influencing public policies.
Larry Diamond lists American and European dialogue with moderate Islamists as key to democracy promotion, suggesting a bargain in which Western powers would press for Islamist parties' right to participate in free and fair elections in exchange for an unambiguous commitment to democracy and equal rights for women and religious minorities, in addition to recognition of Israel. The funding aspect of American democracy promotion in the MENA region leads some to question the "industry" that emerged as post-Soviet American politics led to increased democracy promotion and "older development-oriented companies and organizations quickly added democratization to their repertoire in order to expand their work and benefit from the new stream of funding.
Critics of aid aimed at stimulating free market enterprise and thereby creating a middle class which would push for democracy assert that it can result in transforming local NGOs into a business sector framed as an example of entrepreneurship but dependent on aid from the West. According to The Huffington Post , "The 45 nations and territories with little or no democratic rule represent more than half of the roughly 80 countries now hosting U.
Although international development work has evolved in terms of its vision, the assumption that those offering assistance from the outside know how to best serve the interests and needs of people inside a country persists in the field, according to some,  and is reflected in the Arab world in development rhetoric "rooted in a colonial discourse about native backwardness.
Polling data in the Arab world suggests that Arab public opinion largely rejects the assertion that U. Such power dynamics associated with democracy discourse can be influential. Walid Kazziha argues that despite the fact that Arab intellectual debate on democracy had been lively in the twentieth century and home-grown demands for political opening had been placed on regimes, Western discourse on democracy grew in influence in the region from the s onwards, and by the beginning of the 21st century, the "Arab drive for democratization, which emerged after the Arab defeat, had been diverted from its national course, due to the intervention of the West.
Indeed, development discourse and the categories it creates can have severe power implications, in the view of some scholars, who say such discourse is an extension of the "coercive power of Western-dominated global institutions. What is often ignored in the discussion of a development scheme based on providing technical knowledge, Mitchell argues, is that an organization like USAID is hardly "a rational consciousness standing outside the country" as it imagines itself to be, but "is in fact a central element in configurations of power within the country.
He maintains that democracy rhetoric is also employed according to American-defined categories such as promoting economic liberalization, citing a USAID report's calls for political decentralization and encouraging "democracy and pluralism" as a means of empowering rural landlords who would support free market economy at the expense of local peasants. Some critics have also argued that the U. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Interests and Goals in the Middle East. Middle East Policy.
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Amin Saikal and Albrecht Schnabel. Retrieved 29 May Picard, Louis A. Armonk, NY: M. Sharpe , Inc. May The International Politics of the Middle East. Manchester: Manchester University Press , Gregory International Studies Review. International Affairs.
Cairo: American University in Cairo Press , Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, Political Behavior. New York: Zed Books , Nathan J. Brown and Emad el-Din Shahin. London: Routledge , Yehudah Mirsky and Matt Ahrens. Foreign Policy. July November 6, Jann Einfeld. New York: Greenhave Press, Cairo, Egypt. September New York Times. June 4, October 15, October 25, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
September 28, November October Seligson, Vanderbilt University; C. New Internet capabilities provide more access for greater participation in governance and are increasingly exposing corruption. Synergistically self-organized human rights movements for sustainable global democratic systems are taking place all over the world. The long-term growth of democratization has stalled over the past decade.
Although the perceptions and implementations of democracy differ globally, it is generally accepted that democracy is a relationship between a responsible citizenry and a responsive government that encourages participation in the political process and guarantees basic rights. Reinforcing this globally are NGOs like Transparency International and the intergovernmental organizations like the Open Government Partnership created in OGP has grown to 75 national and 15 subnational governments that have agreed to 2, commitments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.
Global trends are also reinforcing this, such as the increasing interdependencies, changing nature of power, increasingly educated publics, growing mobility and solidarity of people worldwide, and the need to collectively address major planetary existential challenges.
However, democratization is threatened by increasingly sophisticated organized crime, terrorism, corruption, fake news, and other cyber manipulation of elections and the electorate. Secure tamper-proof electoral systems. Establish international standards and agreements for the digital world.
Implement global strategies to counter organized crime. Establish and enforce measures to reduce corruption. Promote transparency, participation, inclusion, and accountability in decisionmaking. Support research to get unfair influence of large sums of money out of politics.
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Promote new forms of e-governance. Require civics in all forms of education.
Develop standards that support democratic values. Produce cash flow projections for guaranteed basic income. Implement UN treaties on minorities, migrants, and refugees. Include 10 lessons from Devex research: move forward incrementally when beginning a democratic transition; retain a positive and inclusive vision at all times; build coalitions; create and protect spaces for dialogue; focus on constitution building; manage eventual tensions; understand the importance of political parties; deal carefully with military, security, and intelligence services; recognize the need for real reconciliation and transitional justice; and bring the gender lens to democratic transitions.
A global consciousness and more-democratic social and political structures are developing in response to increasing interdependencies, the changing nature of power, and the need to collectively address major planetary existential challenges. The apparent efforts of some governments, elite powers, or religious extremists to stop the long-range trend toward democracy are countered by the rapid democratization of information and intelligence in the cyber-era.
Regardless of the trigger—autocracy, political or religious repression, economic inequalities, or restrictions on civil liberties—increasing numbers of more globally conscious, media-savvy advocates of self-determination are taking to the streets and the Internet, exhibiting unprecedented power in resisting external coercion. This renewed democratic commitment and courage is contagious, inspiring others worldwide to take action and organize for fundamental structural changes.
Yet if these movements do not mature into more effective systems to implement new strategies to address the global challenges of our times, democratic gains could be lost.
They can turn to anarchy or oligarchy and challenge the foundations of modern democratic ideals and practices. Mobilized through social media, young people are getting more politically active and inclined to vote. However, the relevance of representative democracy and the voting systems are increasingly questioned and should be adjusted to the speed of the Internet era. Of the countries and 2 territories assessed comprising almost all of world population :. Based on the assessment:. Based on the assessment of countries:. In , press freedom declined to its lowest point in 13 years.
Average Global Score of press freedom has deteriorated; it declines from New national security regulations, intimidation by militant and criminal groups, and manipulation of news for economic or political interests by news-media owners or governments became the main impediments to objective journalism. Regional assessments in on a score from 0 to ; 0 representing total freedom and no freedom at all show a score of:. Out of all cases, journalists have been killed with complete impunity.
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Most victims covered politics Since an educated and truthfully informed public is critical to democracy, we have to learn how to anticipate and counter ideological disinformation, infoglut, censorship in its many forms, interest group spins of information, and future forms of information warfare. While cyberspace has become the backbone for free-flow of information, the very heart of a free-society, it has also increased exponentially the quantity and quality of information that is stored about its users.
Although most people voluntarily put their life and data online, many are increasingly questioning the legitimacy of growing surveillance at the behest of governments or private companies. What degree of monitoringis fair? How much is too much? Some argue that monitoring has to be regulated with clear indication of who has the right to monitor, how the information is used, where it is stored, and who has access to it.
Public debate is necessary for citizens to understand the framework of the new threats in the cyber-era and the changing influences in global politics and the position of global actors, to create a climate of trust in the spirit of democracy. Confidence in elected governments is damaged due to abuse of executive power, impunity, and growing power of lobbying. How many government decisions could this buy?