Date of Graduation

Fall 2009

Degree

Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies

Department

Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

Keith Payne

Keywords

Middle East, democracy, tribalism, Islam, Kuwait, Turkey

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies

Abstract

It has become fashionable amongst some critics of the George W. Bush administration to say that the centerpiece of his foreign policy, the promotion of democracy in the Middle East, is endemically flawed because the religious, political, or cultural conditions in the region would constrain, or prohibit outright, democratization. However, upon examination, the central cultural and religious institutions of the region do not appear to have an endemic impact on democratic governance one way or the other. Both the tribal system and Islam have avenues for liberalized freedom, just as they do for authoritarianism. Meanwhile, the two most liberalized nations of the Middle East – Turkey and Kuwait – face difficulties on their own paths to democratization. One faces a renewed Islamist encroachment against its traditional secular political order; while, in the other, liberalization has had some successes and enjoys some degree of real power, but its hold is tenuous, and can be undone at any time. Nevertheless, representative democracy is slowly but surely gaining a lasting foothold in these states, and can serve as models for the region to adopt.

Copyright

© Evan David Moore

Campus Only

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