The Case for Smart Assistance to the Middle East

The transformation currently unfolding in the Middle East could be as monumental as the changes in Europe that followed World War II and the disintegration of the Soviet Union. In both of those instances, the goals of the United States and its allies were transparent and consequential: to solidify Western power and establish a world order based on democracy and market economics. This successful model should be pursued once more by providing smart, dual-benefit assistance to all Middle Eastern nations seeking to build free and democratic societies.

In the coming months, numerous governments in the Middle East will likely need resources to rebuild and reform their countries in accordance with the demands of those who took to the streets -- namely, to expand freedoms and implement democratic rule.

The West should actively help to set the tone for the aftermath of these events by using its substantial streams of international security assistance to further its goals, while simultaneously providing opportunities for Middle Eastern countries to further their own. While the Gulf countries and some other Middle Eastern states are wealthy, 23 percent of the 300 million people in the region live on less than $2 per day. Many countries will need increased and novel flows of assistance, creating an opportunity to leverage foreign-aid investments to further develop and improve economic and democratic infrastructures.

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