Jan 28, 2011
Center for Democracy and Civil Society

On Recent Protests

So now and again in my Eeyore-like philosophy of always expecting the worst, I find myself truly and pleasantly surprised.  From the start, the recent protests, uprisings and overthrow of the Tunisian government struck me as a powerful moment in history and a reminder of a more aggressive approach to government accountability.  Yet as exciting as they were, the activities in Tunisia certainly didn’t strike me as any sort of catalyst for change in the region.  The developments this week in Egypt and most recently Yemen thus left me rather speechless.

Unlike some, I certainly am not expecting a sudden surge of representative governance or for democratic rule to spring forth in the wake of these uprisings, particularly in Egypt or Yemen. On the other hand, pessimist or not, it’s hard not to be inspired by the recent activities.  Like many interested in international relations, I found myself wondering just what this means for the United States and other Western democracy building interests.  Unlike many, the best thing I can think to hope for is that Western policy-makers will take care with the situation and if possible stay out of it.

A popular rising of displeasure with authoritarian government certainly doesn’t equate a sudden desire for Western intervention.  If anything we might hope for the recent uprisings to provide a model of understanding future change in the region.

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1 Comment

  • [...] recent uprisings charging through the Middle East have, as previously mentioned, surpassed any of my wildest expectations.  Without discussing the moral value of shifting away [...]

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Founded in 2004, Democracy and Society is a biannual print journal published by the Center for Democracy and Civil Society at Georgetown University. The D&S Blog provides web-only content, including special reports and investigative series, on issues relating to democracy and development.

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