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The Robustness of Authoritarianism in the Middle East - Essay Example

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Name Institution Course Instructor Date The Robustness of Authoritarianism in the Middle East Bellin wrote an article describing the causes that have prevented the Middle East and North African countries from accepting reforms. Bellin observed that the countries in these regions were not making advances towards democratization…
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The Robustness of Authoritarianism in the Middle East

Download file to see previous pages... She begins with an analysis of the common explanations but then goes on to highlight the exceptional factors that hinder democracy. She cites examples and elaborates them to support her claims. In addition, she makes comparisons with the situation in other regions to make her claims more valid. She uses the exceptionalism comparative perspective to identify the real causes. Bellin starts with a citation of the Freedom House report on the level of democracy in different regions. While the number of free countries is doubling in other regions, the freedom house report indicated stagnation in the Middle East and North African region. She mentions the statistics as an anecdote to awaken the attention of her readers. Obviously, this report implies that something is definitely wrong in these countries. The author makes a supported claim that most countries in the region have failed to take the challenge of embarking on a journey towards democracy. She then mentions the obvious reasons that may be the cause of the stagnation. According to her, the obvious reasons do not offer valid explanations as to why the region does not make efforts towards democratization. These reasons include the existence of weak civil societies in the region that lack the impetus and capacity to advocate for democracy. In addition, labor unions in the region lack notable activity that can foster democracy. She also highlights the fact that the non-profit organizations in the region lack the appropriate grounding for them to participate in activities that can initiate a democratic transition. In elaboration, she mentions that since association life in the region is weak, the society lacks the capacity to exert pressure on the state to adopt a democratic setting. In addition, the state drives all economic projects of the countries through rental sources of income (Diamond 97-98). The state determines the level of employment as well as the rate of economic growth in the region. The people lack the autonomy to create new economic ventures for themselves. Therefore, as long as they depend so much on the state, they cannot make demands from it. Increased poverty, illiteracy, and inequality limit the people from demanding democracy. As argued, these factors scare the few elite in society. The masses cannot commit to fighting for democracy as they have other pressing issues on the side. Next, she explains the claim that the Middle East and North Africa lack close proximity to democratic republics. Usually, analysts argue that close proximity to a democratic country offers demonstration effect. Some analysts claim that Islam is incompatible with democracy. Islam is prevalent in the Middle Eastern and North African countries and may be one of the reasons making it difficult for the people to embrace democracy. Bellin argues that the above circumstances are not preserves for the Middle Eastern and North African regions. The same factors exist in other regions that have shown remarkable progress towards democracy. She compares the situation in these regions with the realities in other regions. Her illustration of the progress in the sub-Saharan region despite the weak societies outweighs the claim that presence of a weak civil society hinders the Middle East society and North African countries from advancing towards democracy. On a different point, a high economic command from the state is not a factor that these ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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