Elections, though vital in the end, are not an early panacea. What the Arabs need most, in a hurry, is the rule of law, independent courts, freeish media, women’s and workers’ rights, a market that is not confined to the ruler’s friends, and a professional civil service and education system that are not in hock to the government, whether under a king or a republic. In other words, they need to nurture civil society and robust institutions. The first task of a new Saudi king should be to enact a proper criminal code.
In the Arab lexicon, the concept of justice means more than democracy. In the end, you cannot have the first without the second. But the systems that now prevail in the Arab world provide for neither.
Posted by Steve S at 10:24 PM
Changes may be coming to the Middle East soon -- The Economist dissects, in its usual inimitable style: