The Bush administration is preparing to launch a "Greater Middle East Initiative" at the G-8 summit meeting in June. The plan is to bring the United States, Europe, and the Middle East together around a set of commitments to help transform the region politically and economically. The time is indeed opportune for engagement on regional reform, but as planned, the initiative fails to establish a basis for genuine partnership and does little to address the real challenges of Arab democratization.

The administration should rethink its approach and start a new process of genuine consultations to come to an agreement on how all three sides can work cooperatively to address the regional problems that threaten the security of Arab societies and the West.

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About the Authors
Marina Ottaway
is senior associate in the Democracy and Rule of Law Project at the Carnegie Endowment. She is the author of Women's Rights and Democracy in the Arab World (Carnegie Paper No. 42), coauthor with Thomas Carothers of The Right Road to Sovereignty in Iraq (Policy Brief no. 27), and Democracy Challenged: The Rise of Semiauthoritarianism.

Thomas Carothers directs the Democracy and Rule of Law Project, and has written extensively on democracy promotion, including Aiding Democracy Abroad: The Learning Curve. He also coedited with Marina Ottaway Funding Virtue: Civil Society Aid and Democracy Promotion. His forthcoming book, Critical Mission: Essays on Democracy Promotion, will be published in September 2004.