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There are many striking parallels between the "Arab Spring" that began in 2010 and the United Kingdom's Brexit referendum, the election of U.S. President Donald Trump, and the far-right resurgence across Europe. In each case, an old order fell, and progressive parties have been too weak to counter the emergence of authoritarian and xenophobic forms of governance.The growing discontent with the status quo that underlay the Arab uprisings of 2010-11 had many causes, and the opposition took both progressive and conservative forms. Islamists stoked moral opposition to the loss of ethical values in society.Globalization and technological innovation have had profoundly negative effects on certain social cohorts, and public policies have failed to mitigate the damage.Popular revolts – in the streets and at the ballot box – have so far failed to deliver an alternative governing framework that offers credible solutions to the political, social and economic problems that have engulfed Western and Middle Eastern societies.The old autocrats had worked hard to prevent a credible opposition from ever being conceived.In the West today, populist politicians with no realistic plans for actually building a better future are emulating Middle Eastern autocrats. They win power by stoking fear of the "other" – refugees, Muslims, or foreign terrorists – and promising to establish security through force.
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The silent Arab majority must speak up now
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