In today’s world, economic growth will not come by dreaming of empires

The Gulf and Arab countries are bordered by two nations that once had empires that lost power after World War I, leading to their economic deterioration. The victorious forces in this ugly war then dominated the production and trade of natural resources in the Middle East.

In return, the Arab countries gained their independence, after which some countries started to build economies based on these natural resources, while the instability that prevailed in some of the neighboring states led to their economic decline. With the “Arab Spring” revolution at the start of the last decade, the dormant imperial sense of these two lost empires was once again on the rise, forgetting the magnitude of the enormous economic, political and cultural changes that shaped the balance of powers. in the region and around the world.

They tried to make the most of these regional events from a sectarian religious angle. They gained opportunistic supporters, many of whom made huge fortunes feeding off the empty imperial aspirations on both sides. On the other hand, the Arab countries are no longer as weak as they were in the past.

Although the two ancient empires exploited huge economic resources and trained armed militias in many Arab countries, it did not lead to any success. Or what they could pull off was a temporary hit that has long since faded due to successive setbacks of imperial-minded projects that don’t fit the age of the internet and artificial intelligence.

However, the consequences have been catastrophic on their economies as evidenced by the collapse of their currencies and the significant increase in inflation rates which have reached more than 50% per year, while unemployment is at 30%.

This imperial approach had devastating economic effects on their own peoples. On the contrary, separatist movements in both countries have grown due to their fragile and incoherent ethnic structure. After a decade of setbacks, the catastrophic consequences had been clearly seen by the leaders of both countries, compelling them to avoid further economic collapse.

Pragmatism wins

The imperial approach adopted by the first “empire” was more pragmatic, due to its proximity to Europe and the adoption of secularism within its political system. Therefore, he reviewed his past policies and made a full assessment of casualties, concluding that Imperial aspirations would lead to further casualties.

The logical conclusion led this country to change its approach and adopt a strategy based on common interests, economic, technological and cultural cooperation and non-interference in the internal affairs of others.

The new approach affected its economic situation almost immediately, leading to a flow of investment from the GCC, while more jobs were created. If this country pursues this approach as planned, it will have a major advantage on its economic situation and the standard of living of its population.

No lessons learned

The problem now lies in the insistence of the second “empire” to continue on the same doomed path, despite warning signs such as the country’s economy suffering more and more losses and its citizens facing be satisfied with a standard of living that continues to deteriorate. More than half of its population lives below the poverty line.

So there are now two different but contradictory approaches taken by the two empires. The first is pragmatic, while the other is intransigent and still feeds on a distant past with no economic basis. He presented the worst development model ever.

Meanwhile, the first country has begun to reap the benefits of economic cooperation and good neighbor policy. The second needs to wake up from his narcissistic dreams.

The present is not the time of geographical expansion of empires, but the time of empires built from technologies, deep knowledge and innovations. Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, Google and Amazon – these are the real and unrivaled empires of today.

— The author is a specialist in energy and economic affairs in the Gulf.

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