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Re-thinking Western Policies in Light of the Arab Uprisings


The final outcome of the wave of anti-authoritarian protests in several countries of North Africa and the Middle East, which have come to be known as the Arab Spring, remains uncertain. The Arab Spring might turn into summer if popular demonstrations succeed in establishing democracy; or it can backtrack to winter, if counter-revolutionary forces resist change. Nonetheless, the Arab world will look quite different from what it was prior to the revolts. Accordingly, external actors, and particularly the US and the EU, have had, and will continue to have, to adjust. So far the West's response to the Arab Spring has been ambivalent. On the one hand, the West finds it hard not to sympathise with the demands of the 'Arab street': an end to authoritarian and arbitrary rule, popular representation, rule of law, social justice, an end to corruption. On the other hand, Western countries are wary of the potential outcome of revolutionary change in the Arab world, since it might evolve into a system of regional relations less compatible with its preferences than it used to be in the past. Collecting the differing views of experts from the US, the EU and Arab countries, this volume intends to contribute to the international debate concerning the West's approach to the epochal change occurring across the Mediterranean.

Proceedings of the fourth edition of the Transatlantic Security Symposium, held in Rome on 12 September 2011.

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