Obama’s Arab Spring Blunders Matter

Five years ago this week, the Obama administration believed the Middle East was changing for the good. The uprising in Egypt was the centerpiece of the Arab Spring, in which it was supposed that Middle Eastern nations were shaking off authoritarian dictators and ready to embark on a new path that led to democracy. That these were false hopes is no longer a matter for debate. The Arab Spring was a disappointment both for the peoples of the region and for the United States. With the exception of Tunisia, the demonstrations that called for more freedom led, instead, to more repression and the emergence of radical Islamist parties and terror groups. It is possible to argue that this result was inevitable and that the U.S. was always going to be more of a spectator to events that were beyond American control than a successful player in shaping the outcome. But it is worth re-examining what went wrong in American Middle East policy on the fifth anniversary of the Cairo protests so the president’s successor may learn from his mistakes.

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Obama’s Arab Spring Blunders Matter

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