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As a Top Secret National Security Council (NSC) briefing put it in 1954, “the Near East is of great strategic, political, and economic importance,” as it “contains the greatest petroleum resources in the world” as well as “essential locations for strategic military bases in any world conflict.”Continued and in some cases increased foreign assistance following the September 11th attacks had the benefit of giving “the United States leverage on key foreign policy issues, since it can make assistance contingent on cooperation,” notes a recent RAND report.But these assistance programs “can have a negative effect on democratic development by strengthening a state’s capacity for repression,” and as one study concluded “the more foreign police aid given [to repressive states], the more brutal and less democratic the police institutions and their governments become.”With the arguable exception of Portugal, France stands unique in modern political annals in the powerful and seemingly inseparable synergy between itself and its former African empire.Indeed, the longer it takes for the blowup to occur, the worse the resulting harm in both economic and political systems.”Viewing a contemporary map of African countries shows the borders imposed on the African continent by the European colonizers during German Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck’s Berlin Conference (1884).A map of Africa's tribal or cultural groups, however, reveals much more complexity.European colonists in 1884 were wholly indifferent to existing groups and cultures as they laid down the State borders, and most of these borders still exist today.Pre-colonial Africa was dominated by tribal religions.

Yet it is possible perhaps, that the seminal and rapidly unfolding events of the Arab Spring will prove a catalyst for something else.While ideally, the hopefully democratic institutions evolving will encourage and empower recognition of minority rights, cultural pluralism, gender equality, and equality under the law — this has not always been the case.The persistent challenge always remains — even in the developed nations with democratically selected institutions — how to protect the rights of minorities and other marginalized groups, from both democratically imposed “tyrannies of the majority” and the frequently intolerant and authoritarian tendencies of absolutist religious belief.Although the stated intention of political leaders and economic policymakers is to stabilize the system by inhibiting fluctuations, the result tends to be the opposite.These artificially constrained systems become prone to ‘Black Swans’ -- that is, they become extremely vulnerable to large-scale events that lie far from the statistical norm and were largely unpredictable to a given set of observers.” “Such environments” he continues, “eventually experience massive blowups, catching everyone off-guard and undoing years of stability or, in some cases, ending up far worse than they were in their initial volatile state.

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The Times quotes Stephen Mc Inerney of the Project on Middle East Democracy explaining, “We didn’t fund them to start protests, but we did help support their development of skills and networking.”Clearly, the recent onset of anti-government demonstrations against US client states, across Africa and the Middle East, has brought the blatant hypocrisy of U. foreign policy into uncomplimentary and certainly undesired focus and Washington’s foreign policy inconsistencies, in Africa and the Middle East most prominently, stand exposed.