May 12, 2005
NOT HARD TO BE BETTER:
Like Gorbachev, only better (Fahad Nazer, MAY 12, 2005, International Herald Tribune)
Mikhail Gorbachev will go down in history as a man who simultaneously saved and destroyed his nation. He is rightly praised for having the courage to promote "new thinking" and a more open approach to confronting long-ignored challenges, yet his reforms clearly precipitated the collapse of the Soviet Union. Nonetheless, Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia would do well to look at Gorbachev as a model of what a leader can do when his country is at a crossroads in history.
Much like the Soviet Union a quarter-century ago, Saudi Arabia is facing growing unemployment and increasing poverty. A large proportion of the populace - in the Saudi case, most women - remains marginalized and is becoming increasingly critical of its predicament. Islamic radicalism, long kept under wraps by the strong central government, is still on the rise. And the younger generation is still in the early stages of developing the political awareness and maturity necessary to be fully engaged in politics and even showing some apathy about the nation's future.
In the Saudi case, as in the Soviet one, the government bears much of the responsibility for the troublesome state of affairs. It continues to adhere to an outdated, primarily imposed social contract with the Saudi people, known as the Baya, which was shaped by the nation's founder, King Abdul Aziz. In a nutshell, the contract holds that the government should guarantee the security and well being of the citizens, and in return the people are to leave all political decisions to the royal family.
What part of the State's failure isn't Statism (Communist, Nazi, or Wahhabist) responsible for? Posted by Orrin Judd at May 12, 2005 7:29 AM