The collapse of authoritarian regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, the events in Libya and Syria make many believe that the West has been preoccupied with building democracy in the Arab world. Who is next on the line? To find an answer to this question, Pravda.Ru interviewed Alexander Rahr, a well-known scientist of politics.
"Many representatives of Western establishment believe that the "Arab spring" is just getting started. One shall expect a serious modernization of the whole Islamic world. Syria comes first on the list. One should also bear in mind Saudi Arabia, where the situation is not as simple as it may seem. For the time being, though, the West is concentrated on North Africa."
"Does it go about Algeria?"
"Not only that country. Democratization will touch upon North Africa in general, including Algeria and Morocco, although the situation in Algeria has been developing faster."
"Is it connected with its challenging position on Libya and attempts to defend Gaddafi?"
"It doesn't go about revenge here. No one is going to recall Algeria's stance on Libya. Quite on the contrary, this country's position about the events in Libya was politically valuable for the West. They had to give Gaddafi a way to escape. There is another reason that makes Algeria a serious candidate for democratization. Western officials have repeatedly expressed their concerns regarding the non-democratic attitude of Algerian authorities to opposition riots."
"Why does the West need to exert influence on the Arab world? Why does the West show so much attention to this now?"
"I'd like to remind here that ten years ago, on September 11, 2001, the Western civilization faced an Islamist challenge. Bush announced the beginning the the third world war after those attacks - the war against international terrorism. Therefore, the events that we can witness now are a continuation of what we could see ten years ago. The West will continue this policy whether someone likes it or not. The West is the winner of the Cold War, and it is not going to yield the palm to anyone else.
"Much has been said recently about the decline of Europe, especially after the riots in France and Britain. The financial crisis also continues, which makes many believe that the liberal era is drawing to its end. From this point of view, the support of the "Arab spring" is an attempt to suppress such concerns. It reflects the wish of the West to struggle for survival in the fast-changing world. That is why the EU and the USA encourage the movements against autocratic regimes of personal power. Many Western politicians believe that the current events give a unique chance to modernize the Arab world.
"Aren't they afraid of losing control over the situation in the end?"
"There is a concept in the West of how to make the revolutions in North Africa democratic and safe. There were ideas offered in the past to have those territories involved in the sphere of influence of the European Union. It goes without saying that there are no funds right now to promote EU's expansion in Africa. However, there is an idea to build the Mediterranean union. To avoid their own decline, the EU and the USA will do their best to support democracies in Arab countries.
"The current events remind us the situation at the end of the 1980s and in the beginning of the 1990s, when communist regimes would collapse one after another. In Eastern Europe, everything was successful at this point. The events in Libya do not stop anyone yet, just like it happened with the bloody events in Romania. The only failure was China's Tiananmen, although it did not affect the euphoria of victory over communism in the West. Therefore, one may not exclude the Chinese and the Romanian scenarios in the Arab world.
"Which role are social networks going to play in all this? And what about the role of the Western media?"
"The information support, which the West provides to Arab revolutions, is extremely important. This is a very important tool for the West to support democracy among Arab youths. Everyone is celebrating the results achieved in the Arab countries, and those results mean that "democracy is not dead."
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