Change is never easy, and an editorial in yesterday’s New York Times speaks to how difficult change can be– especially within newly-emerging democracies throughout the Middle East and in North Africa. The editorial describes the current anti-American protests as a “convenient fuse for rage,” when in reality the violence is a symptomatic of deeper problems within the Arab world, many of which were perpetuated by repressive governments supported by the United States.
In 2009, President Obama signaled the need for a change in the way the United States conducts its relations with the Muslim world in a speech in Cairo. Not only should U.S. support Arab democracies and governments that reflect the will of the people, Obama said, it should reflect the traditions of the people who live in those countries. As change continues to unfold in the months following the Arab Spring, the U.S. finds itself in the precarious position of protecting American interests while maintaing American values in support of democracy in the Muslim world.
The following video from the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations features a debate on the future of relations between the Western world and Arab nations and includes a discussion on President Obama’s promise for “new beginnings” in U.S. relations with Muslim countries.