More than ever Washington needs to listen and learn, above all in North Africa. The painfully slow advance of democracy in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria may be more closely linked to the spread of terrorism than at first appears.
Since September 11 2001, the United States and the European Union (EU) have favoured a strategy of security ﬁrst, democracy second in the global ‘war’ against terror. In the short term, encouraging Middle Eastern allies towards security clampdowns and intensiﬁed policing has appeared more effective than progress towards political and economic liberalisation. What America and Europe have been slower to evaluate are the wider costs to regional stability of prolonging security measures that reinforce the autocratic tendencies of regional leaderships.