I have dual feeling when following the events currently taking place around the Middle East. From one side, there is this strong empathy to people living under dictatorship rule whose individual freedom and human rights have been limited for decades. There is no way to deny support to this series of non-violent revolutions as it is freedom what they are calling for. I truly hope that the will of people will win without bloodshed.
From the other side, i am worried that this popular peaceful unrest and dissatisfaction with the political regime just like in early 1990s in Eastern Europe will be misinterpreted by the West and understood as dissatisfaction also with the economic regime, which is clearly not the same. People in Middle East now just like people 20 years ago in Eastern Europe are calling for freedom and democracy and if you listen carefully – they are not calling for market liberalization, privatization, free trade, public cuts etc etc. But just wait and see, as soon as political change will take place, IMF and WB will arrive, give some handsome loans and by using the momentum will try to enforce market liberalization as if it is an integral part of freedom and democracy. it is not. For a very long time different approaches have been used (think of Iran and occupation of Iraq) to get access to Middle East resources (just think of oil alone!), but so far dictatorships though as bad they can be have limited the chances of big multinational corporations to get a slice of this bonanza. People in Middle East should be really careful now regarding 1) what they are calling for, 2) what price they are paying and in whose interest. As the experience shows it is easy to sell out one’s country when being euphoric about the long-awaited freedom and democracy. Just in 20 years this freedom may become a dependence on foreign capital, ruined national business and import driven economy.