In This Review

Uncharted Journey: Promoting Democracy in the Middle East
Uncharted Journey: Promoting Democracy in the Middle East
By Thomas Carothers and Marina Ottaway
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2005, 300 pp

Decades ago, Western policymakers and pundits preached "modernization" or "development" as the answer to the Middle East's woes. Now they preach democracy. Especially since September 11 -- and efforts to explain the events of that day and determine what must be done to defeat terrorism -- democracy has come to dominate the discourse, and it is embraced by both supporters and opponents of Bush administration policies. Authoritarian Middle Eastern regimes, even if friendly to Western interests, are at the root of existing insecurity. What to do? These thirteen studies address that and a range of related questions: Even the benign word "promoting" means there will be outside intervention, so what kind of intervention is needed? Is Washington a credible champion of democratization? What about Europe? Does one reach out to "moderate" Islamists? What about women's rights and democratization? What are the links between economic opening and political opening? Does promotion of civil-society organizations bring needed change? Are not such efforts easily co-opted or controlled by existing governments? The contributors approach such issues with hard-edged realism, all within the dominant discourse that assumes that promoting democracy is indeed the solution.