Browsing articles tagged with " Iran"
Sep 9, 2011
Center for Democracy and Civil Society

I am not sure I agree with Caroline Glick

Caroline Glick, a columnist for the Jerusalem Post, believes one problem with the war or terror is that the US has been insufficiently aggressive in fighting it. In particular, she would like the US to expand its efforts to countries such as Iran, Lebanon, and Syria. Although she doesn’t directly call for US-led regime change in these countries, it seems to me that at a minimum she would like the US to do something to make these countries more unstable than they already are. After carefully considering her point of view, I have come to the conclusion that she is totally nuts. Let’s leave the merits of the policy aside (of which I think there are few) and look at the US record on regime change in the broader Middle East over the past decade. We have tried it in two countries, Afghanistan and Iraq, and the record is, to put it charitably, mixed at best.

Don’t get me wrong – I very pleased that Glick has such confidence in the US’s capacity to get other countries to govern as we wish they would through a policy of military aggression. The problem is that I find it really hard to believe that the world would be a safer place if the US provoked more instability in the Middle East. Perhaps in a future column Glick will outline why she thinks the US military would be more successful in Iran, Lebanon, and Syria than it has been in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan. Until that day comes, I hope that our joint chiefs of staff don’t read her work and think, “hmm…she’s got a point. Lemme run it by Obama.”

Mar 16, 2011
Center for Democracy and Civil Society

3.23.11: Resilient Authoritarianism and the Future of Democracy Promotion in the Middle East

The Georgetown Center for Democracy and Civil Society and the Master of Arts in Democracy and Governance presents

Resilient Authoritarianism and the Future of Democracy Promotion in the Middle East

on Wednesday, March 23, at 3pm

Even as the political landscape of the Middle East is undergoing change, authoritarianism will remain a prominent and formidable presence in the lives of millions of citizens across the Middle East.  The study of authoritarian governance remains essential for our understanding of the political dynamics and inner workings of regimes across the region as they struggle to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances.  Focusing on two of the region’s durable authoritarian regimes, Syria and Iran, this panel will explore the sources of authoritarian resilience in the Middle East, and highlight the adaptive strategies these two regimes have used to preserve their grip on power.

For more information and to RSVP, click here.

Feb 17, 2011
Center for Democracy and Civil Society

Difficult Days for Dictators

Around the world, these last weeks have been difficult ones for authoritarian regimes.  Though thus far the threat of government overthrow has been limited, it seems clear that these regimes have taken notice regardless of how content their populace may be.  Throughout the Middle East protests have broken out or escalated in the wake of Mubarak’s resignation.  These protests may not be rooted in desire for new governance, yet the way they have spread is nothing to scoff at, either for those supporting transitions in the area or those against them.

As in the uprisings which stirred this recent chain of events, the question remains what role if any foreign governments should be playing in the domestic issues of other nations.  The question is not only one of morality and beliefs, viewing it through this lens does disservice to policy makers inside and outside the state as well as the protesters. In an ideal world government would be more accountable, open, and responsive to the desires of the people they represent.  In this scenario there would be no harm or potential danger in democratic nations supporting the growth of democracy in other areas, yet little good teds to come from building policy on utopian models.

Specifically in the recent case of Iran there is the ever present danger of those who make demands on their government being labeled tools of the West.  Leaders of those “Western” nations have almost universally voiced support of the protesters, and damned the Iranian government for using violence against peaceful expressions of their citizen’s desires.  In a nation so regularly depicted as fiercely adversarial to Western states, there is uncertainty over just what impact these condemnations might have.

Our reactions to Iran have long been rather extreme, and in American news media the nation and the regime are regularly painted as villainous caricatures regularly calling to question any remnants of journalistic integrity.  I am surely no fan of authoritarian regimes, let alone those of the theocratic bent, but in many ways the continued hypocrisy of our support of authoritarians in the region is sure to have consequences.  US efforts to promote democracy in the area are hindered by a host of issues unlikely to be resolved any time soon, but as its obvious the administration is aware of the current wave of change coursing through the region, perhaps reconsideration of our depiction of varied allies and enemies is in order.

As is often the case, people’s lives hang in the balance over these issues, not only figuratively in measures of quality of life and freedom, but literally among calls for the execution of opposition leaders.  These volatile times offer great opportunity for political and social change in the area, but also for potential tragedies as governments resist the demands of their opposition.

Jan 31, 2011
Center for Democracy and Civil Society

Call for Papers: D&S Vol. 8, Iss. 2

We are seeking well-written, interesting submissions of 1500-2000 words on the themes below, including summaries and/or excerpts of recently completed research, new publications, and works in progress. Submissions for the issue are due Friday, March 4, 2011. Continue reading »

Jan 25, 2011
Center for Democracy and Civil Society

D&S Vol. 8 Iss. 1 Winter 2011

The newest issue of Democracy & Society is now available online!

The Obama Administration and the US Relationship with the Broader Middle East


  • An interview with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf
  • Lessons and implications for the Obama Administration
  • Discussion of the unexpected Maliki-Sadr alliance
  • “Democratizing” Iran

And more!

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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