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The Guardian - United Kingdom | Monday, May 23, 2011

Timothy Garton Ash on the old West's new role in the Middle East

US President Barack Obama commences his tour of Europe today. Historian and commentator Timothy Garton Ash writes in the left-liberal daily The Guardian that the Arab Spring must be viewed as a key trans-Atlantic project: "There is no project on which strategic partnership between Europe and the United States is more urgently needed than that of responding to the most important single political development of the early 21st century: the Arab spring. I do not say this for the sake of finding something that the two halves of the now-vanished cold war 'West' can do together; I say it because it is simply a fact. ... Only the US can persuade Israel to embrace a two-state solution; only the Europeans can provide the aid, know-how, trade and investment to enable the building of a viable Palestinian state. Only the US has sufficient clout with the Egyptian military to prevent them strangling their country's new democracy at birth. That fledgling democracy cannot, however, grow without access to European markets, education and support across the Mediterranean. ... This should be the third great project of transatlantic partnership since the second world war."

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