Competitiveness in a Turbulent World.

Author:Ali, Abbas J.


Is it possible for developing nations, especially economically disadvantaged ones, to achieve competitive positions in the world today? This question is not merely an intellectual exercise, but rather a practical concern. Without confronting it, millions of people in poor nations will continue to suffer, and the opportunities for them and their future generations to realize their prosperity and dreams of safety will remain in jeopardy. Indeed, these countries face fundamental problems, from economic stagnation to chronic deterioration of their health systems.

Some intellectuals in various quarters of the world often point to the absence of a vibrant middle class, sound educational institutions, and enforceable laws in these countries. Under normal conditions, these factors are instrumental in advancing the economic growth of a country. But we now live in a world where powerful countries resort to military interventions and other means, including politics and economic seduction, to manipulate, if not obstruct, any efforts for certain countries to maintain independent economic and political policies. For developing nations, this means that they continue to experience turmoil and untold destruction of vital resources.


There is no better example than in Africa. Foreign Policy Magazine (2017) argues that the change of the regime in Libya by western countries has opened the gates of hell to Europe and has left Africa in turmoil. It states (see McCormick, 2017) that a result of the regime change is that "massive waves of migration from Africa that began in 2011, when the fall of Libya's dictatorship [have] opened a clear path through weak and failing states to Europe's southern border." Furthermore, it indicates that once "[t]he human-smuggling route across the Sahara may have been the deadliest on Earth. Then the EU paid Niger's army to shut it down--and made it even more treacherous."

Two examples shed additional light on the catastrophic social and economic consequences resulting from foreign intervention. The first is vividly represented by Yemen. Yemen is, according to the World Bank and the UN, a poor country. Its strategic geographic location, however, has made it a prime target for foreign powers for centuries. In recent years, both Saudi Arabia and Qatar have persuaded Washington to change the regime of Ali Abdalah Salah. However, in recent months, some members of...

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