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American Democracy Promotion in the Changing Middle East: From Bush to Obama

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The recent Arab spring, with its popular uprisings in many Arab countries, has exposed the ambiguity at the heart of American promotion of democracy in the Middle East. The US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were packaged as democracy promotion, as heralding the beginning of a new phase in the politics of the Middle East when democracy would replace authoritarian regimes The recent Arab spring, with its popular uprisings in many Arab countries, has exposed the ambiguity at the heart of American promotion of democracy in the Middle East. The US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were packaged as democracy promotion, as heralding the beginning of a new phase in the politics of the Middle East when democracy would replace authoritarian regimes. Many of these authoritarian regimes, however, were sustained by US support. The recent popular uprisings threaten to bring democracy without promotion by the US, and threaten to overthrow regimes previously supported by the US and important for US strategy in the region hence an initial hesitant response by the US to some of the uprisings. This book explores the contradictions in American democracy promotion in the Middle East. It discusses the principles underlying US democracy promotion, and the debates surrounding US policy formation, and examines the application of US democracy promotion in specific cases. It concludes by assessing the likely future patterns of US engagement with democratic reform in the Middle East.


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The recent Arab spring, with its popular uprisings in many Arab countries, has exposed the ambiguity at the heart of American promotion of democracy in the Middle East. The US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were packaged as democracy promotion, as heralding the beginning of a new phase in the politics of the Middle East when democracy would replace authoritarian regimes The recent Arab spring, with its popular uprisings in many Arab countries, has exposed the ambiguity at the heart of American promotion of democracy in the Middle East. The US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were packaged as democracy promotion, as heralding the beginning of a new phase in the politics of the Middle East when democracy would replace authoritarian regimes. Many of these authoritarian regimes, however, were sustained by US support. The recent popular uprisings threaten to bring democracy without promotion by the US, and threaten to overthrow regimes previously supported by the US and important for US strategy in the region hence an initial hesitant response by the US to some of the uprisings. This book explores the contradictions in American democracy promotion in the Middle East. It discusses the principles underlying US democracy promotion, and the debates surrounding US policy formation, and examines the application of US democracy promotion in specific cases. It concludes by assessing the likely future patterns of US engagement with democratic reform in the Middle East.

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