Chapter 3 describes the process through which the Iranian, Tunisian, and Egyptian regimes progressively came to adopt their Western patrons’ liberal rhetoric in order to justify their deepening ties to Europe and North America. To capture this regime transformation, the chapter employs the notion of “façade democracy,” that is, a type of authoritarian regime that for instrumental reasons embraces Western political values and norms, such as democracy, human rights, and individual liberty. While this transformation helped the three autocratic regimes maintain and even strengthen their lucrative connections to the West, they also forced the governments to behave in a pseudo-democratic manner that eventually generated political opportunities for dissent.
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