The Middle East and Learning from Brazil, Russia, India, and China (BRIC)

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

The Arab Spring is a populous movement aimed at shifting the Middle East toward sound governance. Its basic demands are freedom, transparency, accountability, civic engagement, and economic prosperity. The movement, however, do not follow a practical model. While Turkey, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates (TIE) provide successful economic and administrative models for governance in the Middle East. They, however, are not suitable to be duplicated elsewhere in the Middle East due to these models' particularities, historic circumstances, and socio-geographical factors. Therefore, the Arab Spring may benefit from other models in the world, especially ones that are successfully practiced in the developing countries. A particular model that can be beneficial to examine is that of Brazil, Russia, India, and China (BRIC). Although not all aspects of this model can apply to the Middle East. Its resiliency for growth and innovation, however, can be inspirational. This paper explores how learning from the BRIC model can offset challenges facing the Middle East through the proper use of opportunities by credible public administrators.

Keywords: Arab Spring, Middle East, sound governance, model, public administration.

Introduction

Since the region of the Middle East involves many countries with varying systems of government, attempting to analyze issues of governance on regional level and as one coherent set is difficult. Yet, and because of the interconnectedness of the region and its shared interests, values, and history, the ripple-effects of events in one part of the region may have consequences extending to the entire region. Governmental policies in each particular country in the region will then respond to that event based on its own calculus. Hence, a phenomenological approach to understand governance in the Middle East may be useful. While we cannot treat the region of the Middle East as a whole and as one set or coherent block, we can, nevertheless, appreciate its interconnectedness and the impact of events (phenomenon) on its social, economic, and political trajectory. This paper will attempt to underline the challenges facing the Middle East as a region, and opportunities available for offsetting these challenges through learning from different models that may be suitable, in some aspects, for the region.

Shared interests, history, culture, and interconnected dynamics are among the region strongest elements. The Middle East can build on these shared trends in order to tackle its many challenges and balance out disparities through collective planning, shared resources, and common vision. Treating the Middle East as a cooperative region can be useful for the region's overall progress toward peace and prosperity and establishing a regional economic "cooperative" based on the regions shared elements is perhaps what the Middle East needs the most.

By minimizing political differences between the various countries in the Middle East, eradicating outdated regimes such as that of Assad in Syria that stand in front of progress, and maintaining the Arab Spring as an ongoing process in order to brush aside the opportunistic political forces, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, that temporarily had ridden the political wave created by the Arab Spring for their own narrow interests (Bradley, 2012), the Middle East can put all its eggs in one basket and through collective planning and strategies can assess its challenges, capitalize on its opportunities, and move forward as a cohesive and cooperative block. It can learn from the coordination and cooperation between Brazil, Russia, India, and China (BRIC) in creating a model for such a functional cooperative block (PWC, 2013), and within time offer its own regional model of success to the world.

There are more commonalities within the countries of the Middle East than between Brazil, Russia, India, and China. Yet, and despite the few commonalities between Brazil, Russia, India, and China, these four countries were successful in creating an economic block that is beneficial to their economy in particular and to the global economy as a whole. …