The democratic promise of the poorly named “Arab Spring” is now widely recognized to be a disappointment. Viewed from early 2012, democratic “transitions” seem a pipe dream. Instead of democracy we are witnessing a re-emergence of pre-state loyalty frameworks that call into question the viability of the modern state in today’s Middle East. With the notable exception of the oil monarchies of the Gulf Cooperation Council, where the state can still provide for its citizens, the phenomenon we see today is not democratization, but rather a process of state failure.
Full text: “Failing States: The Real Meaning of the Arab Uprisings” Advancing a Free Society (Hoover Institution, Stanford). January 11, 2012.