“I think the Arab world has been living in an era of artificially induced stability… stability that was brought about by closing the political space,” said Carnegie’s Marwan Muasher, speaking on KQED Radio. “Now that the lid has been lifted, naturally we’re not going to see this transformation and historical process unfold in a short three years.” Speaking about his new book, The Second Arab Awakening and the Battle for Pluralism, Muasher argued that the current process underway in the Arab world will not unfold linearly, smoothly, or quickly, and depending on the circumstances, different countries will have different results because the Arab world is not monolithic.

“Without people adopting pluralism as the operating system, they’ll have no chance at arriving at a stable society,” Muasher explained. Pluralism is a necessary precondition for people to move towards inclusive societies that will tolerate different points of views and lay the groundwork for prosperity and stability, he said. “There are no shortcuts to democracy. Democracy is not going to emerge overnight just because authoritarian governments have been deposed. There are prerequisites to democratic cultures,” Muasher maintained, and while institutions that ensure democractic societies must be put in place, the transformation will take decades.

This interview was originally broadcast on KQED Radio.