Major oil producers in West Africa and Latin America can make an important contribution to US energy security, since they are not affected by the intractable problems of the Middle East. They have problems of their own, however, and to mitigate them, the U.S. should encourage transparency and democratic processes in the distribution of oil revenue.
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.