Egypt And Saudi Arabia Are Potential Game Changers

Posted: Jul 16, 2010 8:26 AM
The countries have provided energy and security to the United States, but their heads of state are both over eighty years old. That means an upset to the international order, but the possibility of uprooting archaic social and economic codes that plague the Middle East. From The Economist:
The rulers of Egypt and Saudi Arabia, ancient as they are, have made improvements. Egypt’s economy has belatedly begun to grow quite fast. The Saudi king is educating his people, even women—though he still won’t let them drive a car. He has spent more than $12 billion creating just one new university near the Red Sea port of Jeddah, while pouring many more billions into ambitious projects, such as high-speed railways, that should benefit everyone. But the closed political systems of Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the uncertainties of dynastic power-mongering and the corruption inherent in patronage-ridden autocracies still often leads to plotting at the top and frustration that could spill over into anger at the bottom.

...It would be naive to urge or expect either country to become a full-blooded democracy in a trice.