(2020) From nonviolent protests in Cairo and Manama to the ousting of Libya’s Gaddafi and the beginning of the Syrian Civil War, the series of uprisings which swept through the Middle East and North Africa from late 2010 have been burdened with the collective hopes and expectations of the world. Western supporters quickly identified these uprisings as a collective ‘awakening’ – a move towards democracy – but the continued unrest in these regions defies many of these more optimistic contemporary predictions. As the region remains unstable, the US and their Western allies are faced with the challenging task of modifying their strategic foreign policy goals to suit the currently mercurial Arab World. The ‘Arab Spring’ and its failure exposed a new set of questions: What motivates American ‘democracy promotion’? Does the US really want self-determination in the Middle-East and North Africa? Where did the expectations of the protestors fit into this narrative? U.S. Approaches to the Arab Uprisings provides a comprehensive assessment of Western foreign policy towards the Arab World today.
With analysis on subjects as diverse as social media and Islamic centrism, and drawing from examples throughout the MENA region, the book deals with the perception of Arabs and Arab culture in the American psyche and its effect on East-West relations. By analyzing both Western responses to uprisings and the reactions of the protestors themselves, the contributors expose theoretical and practical inconsistencies that suggest a rising tension between those that promote democracy and those who practice it.