Arab Democracies? Not So Fast

Leading author on democracy promotion and democratization, Thomas Carothers debunks the myths surrounding the Arab world's new governments—and wonders what role the West should play.

The Middle East is a region so well-steeped in authoritarian politics that it will not change overnight with the resignation of a few leaders, says expert on worldwide democratization Thomas Carothers: "Shedding presidents, as in Tunisia and Egypt, is a startling and significant development, but only partial regime collapse. The entrenched security establishments in those countries are bargaining with the forces of popular discontent, trying to hold on to at least some parts of their privileged role. If the protesters are able to stay mobilized and focus their demands, they may be able to force a step-by-step dismantling of the old order."

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