Why "democracy promotion" should play no role in a values-based German foreign policy in the MENA region

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Article by Benjamin Schuetze about why "democracy promotion" should play no role in a values-based German foreign policy in the MENA region featured in the ORIENT II 2022.

In order to support democratic ideals of socio-economic justice, public participation and representation, established efforts at “democracy promotion” in the MENA must be abandoned. The promotion of procedural democracy has proven to be reconcilable with socio-economic authoritarianisms and presents no challenge to authoritarian power structures. Counterintuitively, I argue that a values-based German foreign policy in the MENA requires less, not more programmes aimed at the promotion of democratic values and instead should be based on the mainstreaming of such values into all spheres of German foreign policy itself as well as on the promotion of new forms of transregional democratic solidarity and understanding.

Benjamin Schuetze is Junior Fellow at the Young Academy for sustainability Research at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced studies (FRIAs) and Associate Researcher at the Arnold Bergstraesser Institute (ABI). His research focuses on the political economy of renewable energies in the MENA region and on Us and European attempts at “democracy promotion”. He is the author of Promoting Democracy, Reinforcing Authoritarianism: US and European Policy in Jordan (Cambridge University Press, 2019) and various academic journal articles. He has recently been admitted to the DFG Emmy Noether-Programme and is in the process of establishing a junior research group on “Renewable Energies, Renewed Authoritarianisms? The Political Economy of solar Energy in the Middle East and North Africa”.

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