By John Duke Anthony
The events in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Oman and elsewhere have been beyond riveting. In determining how best to navigate the turbulence, the United States government is placed in a bind. Among its core dilemmas are longstanding, built-in contradictions. On one hand, the contradictions are rooted in our vital strategic, national security, and economic interests as well as key foreign policy objectives. On the other, they are also rooted in interests that are often at cross-purposes.
This second set of interests includes values, moral principles, and ethical postulates that pertain to transactional transparency in government, accountability, adherence to constitutional obligations, the rule of law, political pluralism, governmental, economic, and social reforms, and expanded popular participation in countries’ national development processes. As we and other countries consider responses to the uprisings, it is essential not to lump any two countries and/or governments together. Like fingerprints, snowflakes, and human beings, no two are the same.
To avoid eliciting any further misgivings or antipathy towards the U.S. from emerging new governments, American leaders would do well to keep the following suggestions in mind.