Turkey’s credibility is high among the Arab people because of its democracy and economy, as well as its struggling effort to blend Islamic values with basic freedoms. Even before Sunday’s election, it invited young people from the Middle East to watch the election process and even hosted a meeting of the Syrian opposition.
Turkey’s role in reaching out to those young masses – rather than the region’s dictators– could be far more effective than efforts by Europe or the United States. If Iran erupts again in protests, for example, Turkey’s stance could greatly add to international pressure on that regime.
Brazil is another example of a regional power that has struggled to cement its democracy and build up its market economy, and now exhibits a progressive leadership in Latin America and beyond.
Brazilian troops have been active in stabilizing Haiti. It supports the region’s antidrug efforts and free-trade alliances, as well as the global push on climate change. While it is too cozy with Cuba and Venezuela, it nonetheless has built up its democracy as a model for others.