Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Why are there no Arab democracies?

Second paragraph:
The continuing absence of even a single democratic regime in the Arab world is a striking anomaly—the principal exception to the globalization of democracy. Why is there no Arab democracy? Indeed, why is it the case that among the sixteen independent Arab states of the Middle East and coastal North Africa, Lebanon is the only one to have ever been a democracy?
Last sentence:
When the global revolution in energy technology hits with full force, finally breaking the oil cartel, it will bring a decisive end to Arab political exceptionalism.
Larry Diamond, Journal of Democracy, January 2010.

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18 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Answer: Tribal mindset & greed.

7:51 AM  
Blogger Seabee said...

Not quite accurate, there are Arab countries which have, or have had, democratic elections. There are also those which had democratic elections, overturned by the west when the result was not to their liking.

11:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course there are Arab democracies. The UAE is one of them, then there's Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan and many more.

I wish there were more people here that would learn to appreciate something that doesn't exist.

2:09 PM  
Blogger The TEFL Tradesman said...

And why SHOULD there be any more democracies in the ME region? What right do westerners have to lecture foreigners on how to run their own country? What's the big deal here - I just don't get it.

If the UAE locals are happy with living in a benevolent nepotistic welfare state, leave them to it. Look at those other fine examples of democracy in this part of the world - Israel and Iran. Hardly inspiring, are they?

No, if the tribal mindset functions, leave it alone ("if it ain't broken...", etc.). Such a mindset would not translate well into democracy anyway - as I'm sure you know!

4:00 PM  
Blogger Spear The Almighty said...

To the TEFL Tradesman

What do you mean by "What right do westerners have to lecture foreigners on how to run their own country?" This is a very strange statement since foreigners aren't running there own countries because they don't have democracies.

This is all o.k. if you have a kind government like the UAE, but if you have a government that is facist, well, then you have problems. Democracies isn't perfect, but in my humble opinion it is the best system out there.

4:09 PM  
Blogger Spear The Almighty said...

Plus how do you asume the UAE population is happy with the current political situation? The only way to test this is to have a referendum and let them vote wether they want democracy or not.

4:12 PM  
Anonymous siddiq said...

Do we need democracy? why we need democracy? whats wrong with constitutional monarchy?

4:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As to the person who claimed the UAE is a democracy, please explain to us HOW it is a democracy. A government where leadership is determined by bloodlines and where the local population has no say in any government-related decisions is not a democracy.

As to comments about why the West cares, I agree. If the majority of Arab countries prefer to rule like a bunch of backwards, tribalistic Bedouins, let them be. They don't have the ability to be truly democratic, and quite frankly, their people don't deserve it unless they fight for it. They're too easily sated with crumbs from their rulers to get off their lazy asses and earn their freedom. Even more pathetic, many mistakenly believe they are free.

"Who's to say a democracy is good?" Do some research. There are many variables positively associated with democracies, like longer lifespans, higher education, stronger economies, higher self-reported hapiness, etc. Also, when was the last time you saw a genocide or famine in a democratic country? However, forcing or pressuring countries into being a democracy could result in a worse form of government because they would continue with their backwards ways under the facade of democracy.

7:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon @ 7:37, you totally missed the flip side of my comment at 2:09.

9:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha ha ha, oops - I'm the Anon that didn't fully read your comment. I had just read an article with crazy comments from Dubai apologists before this one, and your first paragraph (which obviously was based on irony) read exactly like something they would sincerely say. My fault for not reading carefully.

1:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"When the people are starving, democracy is just a word"

1:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this is something to do with culture. Some countries / people have a culture of following their rulers / elders whereas others believe in the individual citizen's ability to handle the responsibility given i.e. to govern himself through chosen representatives who continue to govern as long as the populace lets them.

Chinese have never had anything resembling democracy in the past and this is visible in other countries ruled by the Chinese diaspora for eg. Singapore.

Like everthing democracy has its disadvantages as well. Look at the current in UK / US. In US the elected representatives are busy fighting for their own narrow agenda rather than doing something that is likely to benefit the country. In UK both parties seem to be more obsessed with the election rather than governance.

At the end of the day it comes down to what the local people believe is the best way to elect their rulers. Even here there is a process by which the tribal elders select the next ruler. Anyone complaining regarding the size of the pool of prospective candidates needs to take a look at the number of children fathered by rulers such as Sheikh Zayed and King AbdulAzziz

1:57 PM  
Blogger A Blessing in Tragedy said...

Spear The Almighty said...
Plus how do you asume the UAE population is happy with the current political situation? The only way to test this is to have a referendum and let them vote wether they want democracy or not.

When people arent happy the revolt. Simple. Look at Iran right now, or Georgia a few years ago.

When shit gets too bad, there is a point where the citizens of a country just say fuck it.

Places like the US got to that oint ages ago. In the UAE, not only havent we, I doubt we ever will.

My life as a UAE citizen is 123456782345678 times better than anyone from the US or UK in my social and economic bracket.

So yes, the people of the UAE are very happy with it's govt and leadership, and I for one hope that the false and flawed idea of democracy is never realized in the UAE.

I have said this a hundred time, I would rather take my chances with an unelected man who has been groomed since birth to lead, than a guy off the street elected by morons (the general population)

Logically, which is going to be a better leader? The one who's life has been spent to mould him into a leader... or Ahmed Khalid from Fujairah who is just as qualified as I am (Which is probably not that qualified)

Yeah, I'll take my chances with Shaikh Khalifa and bros.

al-emarati.com

9:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'll take my chances with Shaikh Khalifa and bros.

Tragedy,

You have no choice but to take your chances with Khalifa & Bros.

10:19 PM  
Blogger John B. Chilton said...

"I would rather take my chances with an unelected man who has been groomed since birth to lead, than a guy off the street elected by morons (the general population)"

Son of the leader of North Korea?
Son of the leader of Egypt?

7:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John,

Don't take this Tragedy idiot's comment too seriously. Half the time he's got no clue which side he's on. One moment, he'll be praising the Israelis for beating the shit out of Palestinians. The next moment, a Patriot and a Mullah.

And to top it all off, he claims to be a top notch banker that indulges in flaming and small talk.

9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A Blessing in tragedy,

How is your life better in the UAE than in the West. If it's your personal economic situation, don't you think that has more to do with your country's massive oil and gas fields, South Asian slave armies, and your small citizen base than on the leadership ability of the Sheikhs' "great wisdom"?

The idea that a leader is "groomed" is laughable. Groomed by whom? A bunch of clueless Bedouins trying to adjust to today's modern world? It's really as simple as that? ... just teach someone, anyone to be leader? What a revelation!!! How did we not look to the shining star of humanity and civilization, the Gulf, as the basis for our form of government in the West?

FYI, I taught the highest echelon of UAE royalty in university, and I can tell you that they are lazy and incompetent. One of them (the highest of them all) sat stone-faced in class, when he chose to attend, the entire semester and plagiarized his final project. The thought of that punk-ass leading a country some day is terrifying.

Of course your people will never revolt - it's ingrained in your culture to be mindless followers of mindless leaders. Admit it, your leader could be Ahmed Khalid from Fujairah and you would still have a photo of him riding a white stallion on your windshield as a sign of your neverending love and respect for him.

10:41 PM  
Anonymous muebles sevilla said...

There's no doubt, the dude is absolutely just.

11:22 AM  

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