The Middle East is reeling from domestic battles between progressive and repressive visions, the impact of globalization, and an exploding youth bulge. Now the reemergence of Russia, the rise of China, and the election of a nonconformist American president also require the Arab World’s urgent attention.
Given the domestic upheavals that accompanied the Arab uprisings of 2011, how did Tunisia become the Arab Spring’s success story? Part of the answer is the pragmatism of the Islamist Ennahda movement, which formed a troika coalition with two secular parties after the ouster of the country’s dictator.
Narendra Modi was a global pariah only a few years ago, a Hindu nationalist vilified for anti-Muslim riots that left hundreds dead in Gujarat state. Halfway into his term as India’s prime minister, his swashbuckling foreign policy is scoring military and economic deals from Washington to Beijing.
Perceptions of the Islamic State’s attack on the Yazidis focus on the enslavement of women and girls, but the barbarous gender-based assaults on women as well as men are an integral part of the group’s campaign of genocide to eradicate a religious minority.
In the United States and Britain, the Trump and Brexit campaigns in 2016 embraced and encouraged voices of xenophobia, fear of the other, racism, and divisiveness that we thought had been marginalized in the modern era. To understand the democratic crisis, pay attention to the social conditions of democracy.
Donald Trump’s tough talk of defeating Islamic terrorists, ripping up the Iran nuclear deal, and barring Muslims from entering the U.S. suggests a sharp pivot in Middle East policy, but could be surprising continuity with Barack Obama’s approach to the region.
Amid a Taliban insurgency and discontent with government officials, Pakistanis remain strongly attached to free elections. But until politicians improve the standard of governance and the popular military recedes from politics, democracy will remain incomplete.