Asharq Alawsat runs an interesting interview with Moisés Naím, Editor of Foreign Policy magazine and author of a new book, The End of Power. In the book, he writes that the ‘power’ of nations has changed considerably over the past couple of decades and cites ‘more’, ‘mobility’, and ‘mentality’ as the prime factors that have changed power equations. Definitely worth reading, as is, I’m sure, his book.
Washington, Asharq Al-Awsat -— Moisés Naím has drawn the attention of decision-making circles in Washington through more than one book on the Middle East. Of Libyan descent, Naím was raised in Venezuela, where he served briefly as the minister of trade and industry. He is, perhaps, most well-known for his 14 years at the helm of Foreign Policy magazine. He oversaw a renaissance at the publication, including the launch of an Arabic version. Unusual in his belief that power is not just changing hands today, it is declining, his latest book argues that it is becoming increasingly easy to lose power.
In an exclusive interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Naím discusses the Arab Spring, his latest book The End of Power, and his time as editor-in-chief of Foreign Policy.
Asharq Al-Awsat: In your last book, The End of Power, your central message seemed to be that in today’s world, it is easy to get power, difficult to use it, and easy to lose it. Could you explain this new nature of power?
Moisés Naím: This really is the essential message of the book. What I mean is that throughout history, the strongest have always had walls protecting them from challengers and competitors. This is true in every field—politics, finance, even sports. If you’re strong, it means you have something different protecting you. For instance, the army has power because of the weapons it has or the money to modernize its arsenal. If you were a politician, your power would lie in the number of your supporters. The same if you were a religious leader. However, these walls or fortifications that protect the strong are not as they once were. It has become easy to get around them or destroy them.
Q: Could you apply your idea of the “end of power” to the so-called Arab Spring? In all of the nations that witnessed revolutions or uprisings, there is chaos. No one emerged with the necessary power or charisma.
Power is fragmented in Egypt, Tunisia, and other nations. No one holds all the keys to power. In my book, I noted that there are positive results from this transformation in the nature of power, because its creates more opportunities for citizens and consumers. It ends monopolies and opens the door for new players on the economic and political levels.