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Remarks on External Factors in Democratic Transition


Although this article generally acknowledges the priority of internal factors, it discusses the conditions for bringing back the external factor in certain cases, especially after the collapse of a despotic regime in a dependent state. The article discusses American foreign policy, refuting the thesis that the US became a supporter of democratic transformation after the Cold War, and makes the point that the “democratic realism” that guided American policy in the Middle East is a continuation of Cold War policies with new enemies.
International and regional external factors impeding democratic transformation in an Arab country are less prevalent if the country is less important in geostrategic terms, especially concerning the Arab Israeli conflict and oil production. This is one of the most important differences between the Egyptian and Tunisian experiences.