السبت، 31 مارس، 2007

Seeking New, Enlightened Pan-Arabism

I am for Pan-Arabism, I have always been, I believe that we have a great potential as a common block than we do as single countries.

The Pan-Arabism that I seek is an enlightened one; it is based on mutual goals of prosperity and economic development,

It is based on sharing a new value set that promotes diversity and doesn't exclude the "other",

Pan-Arabism is not a race-based movement; We should seek and embrace groups who do not feel they belong to it such as Berbers in North Africa, the Kurds, Turkmen, in Syria and Iraq, Africans in Sudan, basically, anyone who doesn't consider himself Arab ethically (if there were ever such a thing), or otherwise! Their culture and customs should be preserved since their diversity will enrich the total

Its prime engine is the economy, and it promotes the optimization of natural and other resources to maximize the use of individual and collective comparative advantages,


We need to unify standards, we need a more proactive economic commission at the Arab League with greater authorities to promote the idea that Arab Economic Unit (and maybe political later on) has something for everyone.

I wrote an article 4 years ago that was never published; it was describing an idea on how each country in the Arab bloc should lead in one or more economic sectors, and own that sector in the region.

The idea is simple; a country such as Egypt shouldn't be building factories in domains that it doesn't have economic advantage in, on the other hand, investment and manpower working in all 22 countries, should have open market in the country that "manages" this sector!

More detailed example:
If Saudi Arabia has an advantage, and hence "manages" petrochemical industries sector, then, it should manage all petrochemical industries in all 22 Arab countries, and, it should open its market to investments and workforce specialized in this sector from all 22 countries. No other country should compete with the country that manages certain sector in that economic sector, so all countries will complement rather than compete with each other.

In this model, each country will focus on sectors where it excels, leading to economies of scale, and more competetivenss worldwide.

I don't know how far we are from that goal; with European Union at 50, I think we should start taking notes, and draft our similar plans.

هناك 50 تعليقًا:

howie يقول...

Check this Baharaini guy:

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Nah·det Masr يقول...

Howie,

This guy in the link is an excellent guy! I totally agree with all his speech! thanks for pointing it to me.

nourita يقول...

i totally agree!
can we forget abt our differences..
focus on simlarties and set common goals?
it will be the ideal! unfortunaley we seem to be far ...

tommy يقول...

Nah-det Masr,

Please explain to me, in concrete terms, how a European-Union-style approach to things is supposed to improve life for Arabs. The European Union is a dubious endeavor in its own right. If current Arab nations aren't very cohesive, how does adding an additional layer of bureaucracy and control even less directly accountable to the people than today's Arab leadership improve things? What is pan-Arabism going to accomplish besides the obtuse goal of "bringing Arabs together?"

Nah·det Masr يقول...

Tommy,

The most sought after goal for any people is the pursuit of happiness and prosperity; Arabs are no exception, we want to have good schools, hospitals, housing, nice cars, etc...

I'm talking about economic integration, a common-wealth like federation.

This will never work if there was fanaticism or extreme nationalism that alienate some of the constituents, that's why I am calling for an enlightened version with respect for differences.

The countries of the Arab League are much more cohesive than those of the EU!

so what I'm proposing is merely a common wealth with some higher body setting the standards and regulations for economic integration À La European such as monetary policies, etc...

Political integration is a totally different matter, but maybe, we can agree to isolate economic, and development goals from political ones. Down the road, say in 50 years, we can probably come up with a charter "À La Liberté - Egalité - Fraternité", with a common foreign policy and other stuff, but that's not the most important thing right now.

Instead of producing for a market of 30 million consumers in Morocco, the same industry could be targeting 300 million, which gives it a lot of edge to compete globally as well, hence achieving job opportunities and economic development, which is an essential first step for any other form of development.

Nah·det Masr يقول...

Norita,

I guess we share the same dreams; maybe we will live to see them materialize!

Nah·det Masr يقول...

Howie,

How can I contact you? you don't have an email link on your blogger account!

tommy يقول...

The most sought after goal for any people is the pursuit of happiness and prosperity; Arabs are no exception, we want to have good schools, hospitals, housing, nice cars, etc...

Europe didn't need the EU to get those things and there is little or no evidence the EU has really improved things like education. The EU itself is mostly a bad idea and the differences between the Arab world and Europe ensure that any EU scheme in the Mideast will be far more problematic for Arabs than the EU has been for Europeans.

I'm talking about economic integration, a common-wealth like federation.

The Arab world isn't like Europe economically. The EU has a very broad-based diverse industrialized economy. The Arab world's economy isn't nearly so well developed as Europe. I don't see a lack of economic integration as being a significant barrier to growth for Arab nations and if trade restrictions exist, then they can be dealt with best by individual trade agreements between nations.

This will never work if there was fanaticism or extreme nationalism that alienate some of the constituents, that's why I am calling for an enlightened version with respect for differences. The countries of the Arab League are much more cohesive than those of the EU!

No, you see the lack of national cohesiveness among Arabs is indeed the problem. Europeans don't practice cousin marriage and don't have to contend with tribalism. Tribalism feeds a lot of the problems of the Arab world. The loyalties of Arabs are divided between tribe and nation and as a result Arab leaders behave in more authoritarian ways to compensate for the lack of cohesion. Tribalism also encourages nepotism and other forms of corruption. Authoritarianism and corruption are things that are only going to be aggravated by more bureaucratic overhead.

If want to see an extreme example of this, then look at Iraq. To say that the problem with Iraq is the fighting between major sects is to oversimplify things. A peaceful resolution could probably be brought about if there was any sort of coherent leadership among the major sects that could negotiate on behalf of everyone. Unfortunately, there is no such leadership. Each tribe is moving in their own direction and no one can negotiate for most everybody. This is why a dictator like Saddam was required to keep a lid on things. So long as the tribe stands between the individual and the nation, it will be a barrier to any sort of democratic reform of the Arab world. It is no coincidence that extreme authoritarian forms of nationalism and pan-Arabism have tended to go together hand-in-hand over the years (take Nasser, for example). Until you can break clean with tribalism, any sort of supertribal political entity is going to be both relatively unsuccessful, unproductive, and pathological in practice.

Arabs need movements promoting anti-tribalism and reasonable form of nationalisms instead of pan-Arabism. For example, Arabs countries would be better off developing their own local dialects into appropriate literary standards rather than trying to promote a standardized Arabic. Arabs need to cultivate the sort of progressive nationalism that leads to the production of literature, art, and the general development of distinctive national identities. Look back at the most intellectually productive points in human history like the European Renaissance and ancient Greek city-states. These were both times when distinct local city-states were more important than great nations and they were both necessary precursors to the eventual development of larger national identities. Arabs need to develop their own distinct nations rather than large monolithic political entities.

You guys would be better off banning endogamous marriage, creating a more liberal form of Islam, and developing literature in national dialects than promoting some sort of "Arab Union."

Instead of producing for a market of 30 million consumers in Morocco, the same industry could be targeting 300 million, which gives it a lot of edge to compete globally as well, hence achieving job opportunities and economic development, which is an essential first step for any other form of development.

It can target 300 million people (though it certainly cannot produce for that many). Again, I don't see any need for anything other than individual trade agreements.

Nah·det Masr يقول...

Tommy,

Your analysis is deep and I agree with most of it! however, you are totally off-board when you talk about developing national literature in local dialects. Your suggestion for bilateral trade agreement is -in my view- not enough, they are there already, and they don't work well enough. We need a system that has master plan with directives agreed upon to move forward.

And while I agree with your analysis about tribalism, in some countries, it is not the norm, but we still have problems. I think that is becuase of the lack of education.

Cheers,

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