These forces are in turn fueling massive human displacement and geopolitical power plays.
If any semblance of order is to return after the conflicts subside, citizens and states must forge new social contracts that establish accountability and energize systemic political and economic reform.
Citizens of Arab countries were reacting against a patronage system—in which favors are accorded to some at the expense of all in exchange for loyalty—a system that has long existed in much of the Arab world.
Why has internal and regional conflict become so widespread and so brutal in the region?
The Arab world’s cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity should be regarded as a strength rather than a weakness.
That means governments must foster a sense of citizenship that values diversity, rather than promoting narrow forms of nationalism that emphasize the preeminence of certain groups over others.
First, national education systems have to be reinvented.
Teaching subservience and devotion to an all-powerful leader or group of leaders should be supplanted by teaching an allegiance to the nation.
While there may be no returning to the pre-2011 status quo, without clear alternatives, even more repressive systems threaten to take hold.