“The end of Soviet rule two decades ago unleashed new freedoms in Russia, but also roller coaster political and economic life,” experienced observers suggest. Arab states should learn from Russia’s flawed transition:
In Russia the West was frustrated in trying to reform middle-aged, Soviet-trained elites. In Arab countries the West ought to have a longer-term focus: influencing the young and helping them build civil society institutions, such as independent political and social organizations and private enterprise. Sending many more Arab students to Western universities may be the best investment.
While the United States may front reform efforts in Iraq, Egypt or Saudi Arabia, Europe must take the lead in its own neighborhood.
“For many years Arab challenges may be Europe’s greatest external preoccupation. Not since World War II has the need for European leadership abroad been so great and the opportunity so promising.”