State-Building Dilemmas After the Arab Spring
The alarming state of West Asia and North Africa (WANA) today reverses conventional wisdom regarding constitutionalism. For long the Holy Grail of constitutional reform was on finding the best way to limit government authority. Yet the sheer chaos and instability of Middle East regimes now leads many to wonder if indeed the real problem is not the lack of functioning statehood to start with. How could one “limit” state authority when the personal dictatorships across the land hardly qualify as functioning states at all? That the states disintegrated into chaos after the fall of the rulers - evident especially in the case of Libya - provokes the question whether the so-called state institutions were not merely extended shadows of one man, whose downfall naturally brought with it the end of the entire political infrastructure.