The Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), an important component of the Bush administration’s policy of promoting Middle East reform, is falling short. MEPI should be relaunched as a private foundation funded by the government, akin to the Asia Foundation or the Eurasia Foundation. Such a relaunch would permit MEPI to develop greater expertise in the region, use more flexible, effective aid methods, and gain some independence from other U.S. programs and policies that serve conflicting ends. The restructuring of MEPI should be part of a broader set of measures to establish a more visible, coherent institutional policy structure to pursue the critical goal of fundamental political and economic change in the Middle East.

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About the Author
Thomas Carothers is director of the Democracy and Rule of Law Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. His other books include Uncharted Journey: Promoting Democracy in the Middle East, edited with Marina S. OttawayCritical Mission: Essays on Democracy Promotion , Aiding Democracy Abroad: The Learning Curve , Funding Virtue: Civil Society Aid and Democracy Promotion, edited with Marina S. Ottaway, and Assessing Democracy Assistance: The Case of Romania.