There can be no doubt about the core of the revolutions sweeping North Africa and the Middle East. As John F. Kennedy said in another context 50 years ago, the torch is being passed to a new generation.
What Eastern European intellectuals and civic actors understood by civil society was not just the 18th-century concept of the rule of law, but also the notion of horizontal self-organized groups and institutions in the public sphere that could limit the power of the state by constructing a democratic space separate from state and its ideological institutions.
My conversation with two North African friends ranged widely, from the role of satellite television in the Arab world to the prospects for electoral reform in the region. Then we came to how other nations would deal with the new dynamics of Arab politics. One of my friends said, “In the past, diplomacy has been with the leaders, but now it must be with the people.”
The revolts in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya have brought home to many people that Turkey has become a force to be reckoned with in this region. Turkey enjoys lots of credibility in the Arab world. It has burgeoning trade ties and solid political relations with many Middle Eastern and Mediterranean countries.
Growing aspirations of youth in MENA regarding economic opportunities and political rights very quickly raised the bar for what governments need to do. To shed light on the implications of these changes and opportunities in the region and its inclusion in a global economy, the World Bank will host a discussion titled Arab Voices and Views...
Protests have already toppled governments in Tunisia and Egypt, leaving other Arab countries faced with widespread discontent. The unrest caught most people by surprise — both inside and outside the region — and has fundamentally upended at least five conventional beliefs about the Arab world
But the 22-member league's decision also tells us a lot about Arab views of U.S. power. Throughout the Libyan crisis, we've heard from pundits and politicians that the Iraq war tarnished brand America beyond repair, and made U.S. leadership non grata in the Mideast.
The sudden onset of the Arab spring and winter has reminded us yet again that America doesn't run the world. And the country must be wary, in the elegant phrasing of the late Reinhold Niebuhr, of its own dreams of managing history.