With the U.S. presidential primary season in full swing, there's a lot of talk here about "change" vs. "competence" in leadership. Which does your country have more of? Is that a good thing?

Posted by Lauren Keane on January 30, 2008 1:26 PM


Dr. Njogu is C.E.O of Twaweza Communications. He was previously Associate Professor of African languages and literatures at Kenyatta University.

No Need for Either/Or Leadership

Let’s not assume change is always a good thing.

Posted by Kimani Njogu Nairobi, Kenya | 3 COMMENTS
Jan 31, 2008 at 3:45 PM
Ignacio Gil Vázquez is the managing editor of Spain’s second largest circulation newspaper, El Mundo. He previously served as foreign correspondent in France and as Culture section editor. He has covered wide-ranging events throughout his career, including the Basque conflict, Catalan politics, Francois Mitterrand’s final years as president of France, his successor Jacques Chirac’s election, and the death of Princess Diana.

Experience Not Welcome

When change is demanded, competence doesn't count.

Posted by Ignacio Gil Vázquez Madrid, Spain | 3 COMMENTS
Jan 31, 2008 at 2:47 PM
Vivian Salama is an award winning reporter, producer and blogger. Currently based in Lahore, Pakistan, she has reported for various publications from across the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Balkans, the United States and North and South Korea. She has also appeared as a commentator on the BBC, France24, South African Broadcasting Corp., TVNZ, NPR and as a reporter for Voice of America radio. Her byline has appeared in numerous publications including Newsweek, USA Today, the International Herald Tribune, the National, Jerusalem Post, and the Daily Star. Salama has an MA in Islamic Politics from Columbia University and she previously worked as a lecturer of international journalism at Rutgers University.

Change, Yes, But Cut the Rhetoric

Change is healthy – that is, real change, not just rhetorical.

Posted by Vivian Salama USA/Middle East | 12 COMMENTS
Jan 31, 2008 at 2:24 PM
Saul Singer, a columnist and former editorial page editor at the Jerusalem Post, is co-author of the forthcoming book, Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle. He has also written for the Wall Street Journal, Commentary, Middle East Quarterly, Moment, the New Leader, and (an Israeli/Palestinian e-zine). Before moving to Israel in 1994, he served as an adviser in the United States Congress to the House Foreign Affairs and Senate Banking Committees. He is also on Twitter.

In Israel, No Change for Change’s Sake

Israelis want change, but they also want experience, even if that means choosing someone who only recently was widely considered a failed leader.

Posted by Saul Singer Jerusalem, Israel | 3 COMMENTS
Jan 31, 2008 at 1:39 PM
Carlos Alberto Montaner is a Cuban-born writer, journalist, and former professor. He is one of the most influential and widely-read columnists in the Spanish-language media, syndicated in dozens of publications in Latin America, Spain and the United States. He is also vice president of the Liberal International, a London-based federation devoted to the defense of democratic values and the promotion of the market economy. He has written more than twenty books, including Journey to the Heart of Cuba; How and Why Communism Disappeared; Liberty, the Key to Prosperity; and the novels A Dog's World and 1898: The Plot. He is now based in Madrid, Spain.

Looking For Change in All The Wrong Places

Politicians don’t make change. They make the rules so that other people can.

Posted by Carlos Alberto Montaner Madrid, Spain | 10 COMMENTS
Jan 30, 2008 at 6:04 PM
Mona Eltahawy is an award-winning syndicated columnist and an international lecturer on Arab and Muslim issues. Before she moved to the U.S. in 2000, she was a news reporter in the Middle East, including in Cairo and Jerusalem as a Reuters correspondent. She also reported from the region for Britain's The Guardian and U.S. News and World Report. She has lived in Egypt, the UK, Saudi Arabia, and Israel, and is currently based in New York.

Change? Competence? Egypt Has Neither

Whether Americans choose “competence” or “change” later this year, it seems one Mubarak or another will be waiting to receive them.

Posted by Mona Eltahawy New York City, NY, USA | 34 COMMENTS
Jan 30, 2008 at 1:51 PM
Daoud Kuttab is a Palestinian journalist. He was born in Jerusalem in 1955. He is a former Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University in the United States. Mr. Kuttab is the former director of the Institute of Modern Media at Al Quds University in Ramallah, Palestine and the founder of AmmanNet, the Arab world's first internet radio station. His personal web page is

Waiting to Catch Obama's Wave

Only the Arab world hasn’t seen major change in its leadership for over thirty years.

Posted by Daoud Kuttab Jerusalem/Amman, Jordan | 1 COMMENTS
Jan 30, 2008 at 1:43 PM
Originally from Pakistan, Anwer Sher is based in Dubai and writes for Gulf News, Khaleej Times and Emirates Today. His varied career experience includes banking, consulting, and real estate development. He has a Masters degree in International Relations.

I'll Trade Endorsements for Wisdom

Arab leaders’ wisdom makes up for the lack of democracy here.

Posted by Anwer Sher Dubai, UAE | 1 COMMENTS
Jan 30, 2008 at 1:35 PM
Dr. Ali Ettefagh serves as a director of Highmore Global Corporation, an investment company in emerging markets of Eastern Europe, CIS, and the Middle East. He is the co-author of several books on trade conflict, resolution of international trade disputes, conflicts in letters of credit, trade-related banking transactions, sovereign debt, arbitration and dispute resolutions and publications specific to the oil and gas, communication, aviation and finance sectors. Dr. Ettefagh is a member of the executive committee and the board of directors of The Development Foundation, an advisor to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, and an advisor to a number of European companies. Dr. Ettefagh speaks Persian (Farsi), English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic and Turkish.

Let Iran Change on Its Own

Iran has been an epicenter of change in politics and doctrines for almost three decades.

Posted by Ali Ettefagh Tehran, Iran | 26 COMMENTS
Jan 30, 2008 at 1:31 PM


» Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA | Non-Egyptian and Elaine have the right view. The US pumps $ billions into Egypt and Jordan to keep Mubarak and King Abdullah II in power. Why, becau...
» Amy, Honolulu HI | Geez -- talk about a loaded way of framing our options! If you're going to move away from the usual simplification of "change" versus "experience", f...
» Robert of Los Angeles | The question calls for honesty of your own nation not excuses or comparisons. The verdict: half a loaf good on describing Mubarak. But the usual ...

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