The United States faces no greater challenge today than successfully fulfilling its new ambition of helping bring about a democratic transformation of the Middle East. Uncharted Journey contributes a wealth of concise, illuminating insights on this subject, drawing on the contributors’ deep knowledge of Arab politics and their experience with democracy-building in other parts of the world.
Not all observers of Ukraine's "Orange Revolution" are pleased. Instead of democracy's advance, some see a U.S.-orchestrated conspiracy to undermine Ukrainian sovereignty, weaken Russia's sphere of influence, and expand Washington's imperial reach. However, others point to the combination of a weak, divided, and corrupt regime and a united, mobilized, and highly motivated opposition.
Western media, many Russia scholars, politicians who are not in power, and much of the public see Putin moving Russia further away from democracy, human rights, and the rule of law as they are understood in the West. How can the EU forge a set of common values with Russia in order to further the bilateral relationship and better understand Russia's backslide from democracy?
Whoever wins the Ukrainian election, Russian president Vladimir Putin is a clear loser. Putin has suffered a serious setback because of the way he tried to deal with his most important neighbor. Putin's behavior has weakened Russia's influence in strategic Ukraine and damaged the Russian president's reputation in the West.
Ukraine poses a challenge for the West, for Russia and for the entire post-Soviet zone. Depending on events, a group of transitional societies - Russia among them - will either be pushed toward new transformations or will try to seal themselves up in their current condition. So, what are the challenges?
Although the United States and Europe share in interest in promoting political reform in the Middle East, they have not yet worked out whether they can work productively together on this task. Recent efforts to forge joint initiatives have demonstrated a tendency to devolve into lowest common denominator approaches that generate only lukewarm commitment.