In his speech on Thursday, President Barack Obama will reportedly "reset" his Middle East policy and clarify the administration's position on the Arab Spring.
The speech comes at a critical time, especially for Egypt and Tunisia, countries with the greatest chance of achieving democratic consolidation.
The success of impending elections in these countries will be contingent on the ability of their transitional governments to demonstrate that post-Mubarak or post-Ben Ali life will be better. Yet Egypt and Tunisia face severe economic crises that could spell political doom. Their people will be listening intently for signals that Obama plans to come to their aid....
The remainder of this op-ed can be found at cnn.com.
Julie Taylor, a Middle East specialist who lived in Egypt for four years, is a political scientist at the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy- and decision-making through research and analysis.
This commentary originally appeared on CNN on May 19, 2011. Commentary gives RAND researchers a platform to convey insights based on their professional expertise and often on their peer-reviewed research and analysis.