I’ll call your attention to a new paper by Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS). In it, he looks at Arab Spring (and Arab-Spring-like movements) across the Islamic world and suggests how the US government might best approach them. Among his suggestions are triage — determining which countries are more important than others — cooperation with regional states — which often carry less baggage than US or Western intervention might — and a reappraisal of the various countries’ civil-military complexes — “military” isn’t necessarily a dirty word.
Above all, he cautions against over-engagement.
Definitely worth reading in full… it’s a short piece.
We are only beginning to adjust to the reality that we face following at least a decade of constant upheavals in the Islamic world; it is clear that it will take at least that long to end in some form of stability given the underlying mix of failed secular regimes, weak economies and poor income distribution, demographic pressures, religious struggles within Islam, social change, and internal tensions specific to given countries. This means that the United States and its allies must seek to influence a series of conflicts and political struggles that will extend from Morocco to the Philippines which will reshape the entire Islamic world and will require years of consistent effort to have any chance of success.
A Decade or More of Struggles for Change and Stability
It will be a struggle to help nations deal with the broad range of forces that are currently causing so much instability in the Arab world, to modernize and evolve where they can, and to help the new political factions that take power move forward quickly and with as little violence as possible. The end result will not be a war on terrorism, although it will involve many extremists and terrorist elements; it will be dealing with a clash within Islam rather than a clash between civilizations.
HT: Saudi-US Relations Information Service (SUSRIS)