Wednesday, March 16, 2011

ARAB WORLD - All bullies are not similar

Analyze a situation requires prior awards. However, in these times of upheaval in the Arab world, the distinctions through the cracks. Contrary to what some neocons, all autocrats are not bad and should not be overturned. The moral differences between a dictator and another are as great as those between dictators and democrats.

There are benevolent dictators and we must not turn our backs. Vision, perceived legitimacy, existence of a social contract and the ability to make society more institutionally complex, and ready for more freedom, these are the characteristics of a good dictator. Libya's Gaddafi, for example, is not even in the same category as Oman Qaboos ibn Said, the Sultanate which has seen violent protests by young people a few days ago.

We can not compare the old Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak type Brezhnev to the energetic King Abdullah of Jordan. Sultan Qaboos has built roads and schools in the country, advancing the status of women and protected the environment. He governs with a vision similar to that of many Asian dictators of yesteryear, such as Chinese Deng Xiaoping, Lee Kuan Yew and Singapore's most problematic Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia, who released their country from poverty and have created a middle class.

As for the monarchs of Jordan, Kuwait and the UAE, Sultan Qaboos's legitimacy rests on the royal tradition. It can be said of the leaders of police states of North Africa, which have no tradition and lack of vision. This legitimacy rests on a social contract that treats people as citizens rather than as subjects and their primary objective the social and economic development.

Chinese leaders know they must generate at least 7% annual growth to avoid widespread unrest. Although they succeed, the social contract is disintegrating gradually as society progresses, as citizens, especially young people, asking that their economic freedom is accompanied by political freedom.

That is why the young rebels of China and Oman are different from those of North Africa. They were accustomed to always expect more from their leaders and when they can not meet demand, they rebelled. Tunisia and Egypt, the young have been conditioned to accept less, and always waited patiently for a moment of weakness of the palate to unleash their rage.

Libya is it a model of megalomania and social atomization that comes straight from ancient times and has few contemporary parallels. Colonel Qaddafi has built no institutions, while the benevolent despots do. In the Gulf states, departments operate in Egypt and Tunisia as well, but not quite.

In Libya, there is virtually none. As noted by Samuel Huntington in the 1960s, more a society is complex, requires institutions to govern it. The despot should make society more complex hierarchy, to allow the emergence of different economic classes and the transition from one level to another.

What makes the success even of benevolent dictator - the fact that he renounces the tyranny - the leads finally to his downfall. Political freedoms must be accompanied by some level of social complexity. The only thing that would allow a dictator to escape the tragedy is seeing his people move forward without him and without the chaos appears.

She was not likely to acknowledge any merit in his lifetime. Only now we recognize that Suharto in Indonesia helped prepare his country for ten years of democracy that followed his departure. He was corrupt, but his reign was not without benefit to the population. Sultan Qaboos must understand that, having advanced the social complexity as he did, the culmination of his reign would be given a minimum of true democracy.

If he succeeds in calming the demonstrators, it could become the Lee Kuan Yew in the Arab world. Such an idea seems out of place in this period of democratic uprising, but when the current euphoria settles, it appears that defeating tyranny is much more that organizing elections.

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