The international aid field of law and development focuses too much on law, lawyers and state institutions, and too little on development, the poor and civil society. In fact, it is doubtful whether "rule of law orthodoxy," the dominant paradigm pursued by many international agencies, should be the central means for integrating law and development.
Since 9/11, the Bush administration has moved the issue of democracy higher on its Middle East agenda than has any previous US government. This represents a historic shift in the underpinnings of American strategic thinking on the Middle East. Washington has now linked terrorism against the US, religious extremism, and anti-American sentiment to the prevalence of authoritarian rule in the region.
Despite predictions that the American march into Baghdad would unleash either a wave of democratization or a plague of repression throughout the region, in reality most Middle Eastern states are too preoccupied with domestic problems to be moved profoundly by events in Iraq. Iraq will have a political impact on the region, but changes are likely to come in smaller steps than commonly predicted.
The experience of recent decades shows that while the direct application of military force can certainly oust defiant dictators, military threats and bluster almost never do. While rapid regime change seemingly offers a quick fix, the U.S. will still need sustained diplomatic solutions to its security problems.