NEW POLITICAL ORDER
James Russell, a Senior Lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School, has a rather provocative article in Strategic Insights. A teaser:
The capture of Saddam Hussein, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s apparent abandonment of weapons of mass destruction, and the recent physical assault on Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher in Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque all suggest the dawn of a new era in the Middle East, U.S. regional security strategy, and the global war against terrorism. It may seem far-fetched to assert a linkage between these seemingly incongruous events. After all, how can Saddam’s capture be related to the assault on the Egyptian Foreign Minister? And what does Libya’s plea for re-entry into the international community have to do with the war against terrorism or U.S. security policy? These events are linked symbolically and each, in its own way, serves to highlight different aspects of an uncertain future as the Middle East enters a new era.
All three events illustrate aspects of a transition process, one that promises to be lengthy and take a variety of unanticipated twists and turns. Existing political institutions will evolve, be swept away and/or be transformed in ways that cannot be foreseen; the region’s internal political dynamics are positively fermenting with the possibility of change; rules governing the relationships between the rulers and the ruled will be rewritten. In short, the region stands on the verge of a new political era. The new politics hopefully will lead a macroeconomic revolution not unlike that which is underway in Eastern Europe, where non-competitive state-centric socialist-style economies gradually give way to more competitive systems capable of integration into the rules-based global economic order taking shape under the auspices of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The Middle East may finally be entering the post-Cold War world.
I hope he’s correct; I fear he isn’t. Of course, I would have been skeptical about predictions of democracy in Latin America and Eastern Europe five years beforehand as well. May I be wrong again.