One of the primary concerns of the United States government today was combating terrorism, not only by taking it head-on, but also by stopping it from its roots. These are the countries that are mostly located in the Middle East. In order to achieve this, the United States of America tried different approaches. They have given economic pressure to countries which harbor these terrorists, as well as give aid in reforming their governments. Another approach was to give the Middle East the political freedom by reforming their governments to achieve democracy. There were varied reactions from the countries and the countries’ people, thus resulting to otherwise varying outcomes.
In an article by Ottaway and Carothers, it was the people in the Middle East who really want political freedom, not the United States, or any other countries who were helping the middle easterners achieve it (Ottaway & Carothers, 2004). The people, as well as their governments do acknowledge the need for reform, but it appears that the region somewhat repels the concept of democracy. Achieving democracy would really be a from a hard-fought battle against the norms and cultures that the people are used to, also against close-minded leaders who wouldn’t adhere to democracy because of their self-interests. Democracy won’t be achieved because of the efforts of liberal activists or their Western supporters, as their intervention is but a physical concern. In thought, it is still up to the people who are living in the Middle East. So in order to achieve democracy, it would be up to the people in the areas, who view democracy as a problem rather than a solution.
This primary source presents information to the readers about the situation of democracy in the Middle East, referring to it as something wanted by the people of the Middle East, but is hindered by other intrinsic factors. It was able to present information regarding the possible effects of democracy in the region, though they weren’t able to provide much information about Middle Eastern countries that were successful as well as their reason for success. They focused on relatively poor countries, stricken with insurgency and economic problems. The article’s bias was more for the side of the United States, as it justifies the US and other western countries’ intervention with the affairs in the Middle East. The content was very informative, as it was able to cite historical accounts for the Middle East and the United States of America.
A Middle East scholar, Fawaz A. Gerges wrote about how the people in the Middle East truly longed for political freedom among the Arabs (Gerges, 2005). He stated that the roots of Middle Eastern political oppression can be accounted to the rise of military-security apparatus just after the end of colonialism. He shares the views of other Arabs and Muslims in the Middle East, saying that they are fed up with the ruling autocrats, delivering none of their promise of prosperity. The people in the Middle East deeply understand that there is a need for democracy in order to protect their human rights and ensure them of stability. The article however raised the issue of mistrust by these Middle Easterners towards the Westerners, especially the Americans, as they equate liberal democracy the Westerners’ political domination.
In this secondary source, the author takes into consideration previous events in the Middle East as he draws his reactions and commentaries from it. This article somewhat contradicts the first article, as it states that it is up to the Western countries, especially the United States, to wipe the mistrust which most Middle Easterners have developed towards them. According to the first article, it was up to the Islamist parties who hinder efforts for change towards the area. Though both articles speak of similar matters, the arguments that they pose also have different concerns. This article from a secondary source is more biased to the Westerners than to those of the Middle East.
On the question of success in the advancement of the democracy in the Middle East, I think it still has a long way to go. One of the most important aspects tackled in the articles is about the social acceptance of the Westerners’ intervention. If the people in the Middle East are filled with doubts, it would be difficult to find light for the democratic movement, even if they are aware of how badly they need it. As for the Westerners especially the United States, efforts should be more concerned with empowering the real Middle Eastern people rather than resorting to physical measures like violence, at it continues to fuel the flames of doubt in the people.
Gerges, F. A. (2005). Is Democracy in the Middle East a Pipedream? Retrieved June 8, 2008, from http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/display.article?id=5622
Ottaway, M., & Carothers, T. (2004). Middle East Democracy. Foreign Policy.