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the arab sprong part ten easternaffairsAs everybody knows, classical methods of democratization as soft powers (conditionality, incentives, and economic sanctions) were never used in this area. According to the author, the widespread idea that the exportation of democratic values is the only way to fight Arab authoritarian regimes, is less convincing than the one of the auto-democratization; although according to some sceptics who are experts in the plotting theory, the American administration, Israel and their secret services (who are the real inciters of the Arab spring) are reconfiguring the MENA region.

According to al-Maṣlūḥī the “Arab Spring” has been a strategic surprise for Europe also in another sense. Some hundred kilometres far from its borders, European countries are witnesses of a series of complete transformations that involve a region important for Europeans about neighbourhood problems and transferable risks; in addition transformations are guided by actors with whom Europe usually doesn’t relate to: social protest movements. According to the author in a contest like this Europe can react in two different ways: it can maintain its tolerance policy towards local regimes to avoid losing consent of people who share the same vision about Islamism and about the conflict between Israel and Palestine, or can promote the democratization in the Arab world endearing in advance the new political élite, with the hope to carry weight in their political agenda when they will take power. Everything suggests that EU’s state members have chosen the second one, but not unhesitatingly.

One of the lessons that can be learnt by the “Arab Spring”, the author continues, is that Europe’s engagement in facing political and security challenges reveals a deep crisis of the European multilateralism, both for Europe and for Barcelona’s process. al-Maṣlūḥī claims that Euromed and the Union for the Mediterranean’s political structures have been putting aside and so deprived of the possibility to take part in the post-authoritarian agenda in the Arab world; but also the Community organisms for foreign and security policies are represented by few people. The European states are there, the community Europe isn’t. In addition, the roles France and Great Britain assigned themselves seem to overshadow the other EU’s states, and this trot out the eternal issue of the European foreign political identity and community, accordingly to the treaties or essentially that national sovereignty as it is promoted by some member states. Concerning this, Libyan events are an example.

The plan and the common deal between London and Paris, aided by the use of translation companies, seem to have reduced the EU’s possibilities to gain a role in this issue. These two counties feared that the conflict could get out of hand and become a war of attrition, so they avoided an excessive military involvement and they left to the NATO (and so to the USA and their military skills) a wide margin for the operations’ handling. The EU marginalization as multilateral space of the management of the crisis was determined by the “low profile” policy adopted voluntarily by the other European powers (Germany, Italy, and Spain) which were busier with the financial crisis and its consequences on the Eurozone. However, apart from these three states, it is Europe that doesn’t provide itself with the means and the will to counterbalance the French-British vitality. This position can be found in the formal opposition of Catherine Ashton, chief of the European diplomacy, who refused every military intervention of the European Union against Libya to protect the military convoys and keep watch over the maritime traffic to Libya.

The author finally claims that Europe is reacting to the “Arab Spring” in a patchy way; this proves its difficulties to establish itself as a solid long-lasting alternative to the American unilateralism and to the atlantista dilemma that seems still the unique practicable way for the defence of Europe.

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