On Hillary

Imagine if Hillary Clinton wins the 2008 US presidential elections. Statistically speaking, she is likely to be re-elected in 2012 (most presidents have been) and therefore remain president until 2016. This will mean that between 1988 and 2016 two families will have shared the presidency -- 28 years of Bushes and Clintons. You could even add another eight years if you consider that George H. W. Bush was a relatively powerful VP under Reagan because of his intelligence and foreign policy background and was even acting president for eight hours on 13 July 1985 when Reagan underwent surgery.

If this happens, a generation -- my generation -- will have spent the time between its teenage years and its middle age ruled by two feuding families. That will be oddly familiar for those of us with Arab origins, a situation reminiscent of Kuwait's succession system or the much-gossiped rivalries of Saudi princes. So it seems that Arabs don't only have political lessons to learn from America, but that they can export some of their cherished political values too. But for some reason, I don't take much comfort in that.

Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.