September 11 and its aftermath caused many Americanpolicymakers, both Democrats and Republicans, to re-evaluateWashington's traditional emphasis on promoting "stability" in theMiddle East, even at the expense of democratization. Support forautocratic regimes, far from pacifying the region, came to be seenas the root cause for the growth of Islamic radicalism, culminatingin the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. A strategy ofpromoting democracy throughout the so-called Greater Middle Eastwas no longer considered to be an idealist dream but a realistnecessity to ensure the long-term security of the UnitedStates.
The necessity for reform in the Middle East has never been morecompelling. The Arab world faces the real possibility of socialimplosion. The Middle East confronts a demographic revolution, withnearly half of its population under twenty years of age. It isestimated that the region must create 100 million jobs over thenext 15 years to accommodate its "youth bulge." Such a dauntingchallenge requires that governments implement structural reformsdesigned to boost economic growth by promoting investment andtrade. Yet it is difficult to see how any government in the MiddleEast can undertake meaningful economic reforms without politicalmodernization. After all, the preconditions for a successful markettransition, such as the rule of law, accountability andtransparency, are also the essential components of a democraticpolity.