Welcoming Egypt to the World of Democracy

The US Initiative to Fostering Democracy in the Middle East

The promotion of democracy in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is aimed at encouraging the non-governmental and governmental actors in the area to foster reforms in the political field so as to attain democratic governance. The Middle East and North Africa Region is dear to the American nation even though it has continuously been entrenched in authoritarian rule and non-democratic governance.

Without considering Israel, ruled by a Jewish-Majority democracy, semi-democratic nations such as Iraq and Lebanon, MENA has been a subject of interest, in fact so dear to them since the wake of the September 11, 2011 attack. The transition from autocratic leadership to democratic rule is seen by many as being a vital issue in ensuring the international and regional stability

The efforts of America in attempting to promote democracy in the MENA region are mainly done through the application of bottom-up and top-down democratization approaches. The two approaches can be pursued together instead of applying them one at a time. The top-down strategy involves piling rhetorical and ambassadorial pressure on the ruling regimes so that they can reform. This approach goes to an extent of involving the American Army so as to help raise a democratic government as was the case in Iraq after the invasion of 2003.

The American government uses the bottom-up strategy through funding some international organizations that in turn help to set up strong democratic institutions that uphold the rule of law and protect the bill of rights. Moreover, this approach is also involved when the American government trains civil societies and political parties as well as encouraging the inclusion of more females in the political field. Some people have been criticizing the way America is promoting democracy in the Middle East region. America has been blamed for being ineffective, lacking consistency, using a single strategy across the board, and also employing the military through the guise of promoting democracy.

Democracy Promotion American History

The foreign policies that America has employed in trying to promote democracy have changed significantly for the past several years. The earlier period was mainly dominated by an American nation that was committed to ensuring a change in governance while the current American intervention in democracy in the MENA region is more forceful and deadly.

In the MENA region, for instance, America was almost involved in acts that were perceived to be against human rights. The United States was finding itself in conflicting positions when it participated in removing a government that had risen to power democratically. This was being done due to the interests that America had in oil deposits. The act of enhancing democracy in the Middle East has more often than not been dismissed as mere lip service. The United States has been accused of attempting to seek support for its strategic international policies. However, a closer view will reveal a nation that has had tangible results in the Middle East as far as promotion of democracy is concerned. Peace can be felt and prosperity is evident. Democracies have priorities that are sometimes contradictory and promotion of democracy is not a panacea to such.