How much will US Congress carve out for Tunisia in 2018? The jury is still out, and even though the fiscal year began October 1, Washington has yet to approve the new budget, including foreign funding amounts. An article* published earlier this month on The Hill urges senators to remember Tunisia while finalizing the budget for the coming year. « Tunisia is an American ‘soft power’ success story—let’s keep it that way », the author writes, arguing that with US foreign assistance « there is reason to believe that the rule of law and democratic institutions will prevail », whereas cuts in funding to the country would represent « a serious mistake ».
In Tunisia’s case, there will likely be for many years to come the relentless push, from both without and within, for foreign governments and institutions to supply aid, support, assistance, and know-how to the end/under the pretext of promoting economic growth, social justice, and State accountability. In this context, will Tunisia allow outside interests and impositions to define its foreign relations and, by extension, its own autonomy? or will it remain vigilant, deliberate, and selective in decisions concerning relations with its geographical neighbors, economic ‘partners,’ and strategic ‘friends’?