In a letter to Barack Obama on July 27, 121 American analysts and former diplomats called upon the President to make an official visit to Tunisia before the end of his term in January. While some openly request official support for Tunisia, the possible appointment of Youssef Chahed, former employee of the American embassy in Tunis, raises questions around the less overt forms of US engagement with its unique North African partner.
As ally countries and financial institutions have obliged government requests for continued support with new lending agreements, Tunisia concedes to loan upon loan to pay back its debts.
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’?