The word Agora (pronounced 'Ah-go-RAH’) is Greek for 'open place of assembly’ and in ancient Greece it designated the area in the city where free-born citizens could gather to hear civic announcements, discuss politics or simply trade. The aim of the blog is to be a modern online version of the Greek Agora with a particular focus on International Affairs, the United States, and the Middle East. This blog will also provide information about academic job vacancies, research opportunities, grants, conferences, and calls for papers.
Stability Over Democracy in the Middle East
F. Gregory Gause, III recently wrote an analysis paper for Brookings Institution on what he called The New Middle East Cold War. According to Gause, this new cold war shares many similarities with Malcom Kerr’s Arab Cold War of the 1950s and 1960s.
With regard to the role of the United States, Gause suggests that:
The United States can do little to address the weakness of governing institutions in many Arab states that has caused the new Middle East cold war’s complex of conflicts.
It therefore needs to take a modest approach and recall that this is not America’s war. The conflicts have not seriously impaired America’s core regional interests. The guiding principle of the American response should be to prefer order over chaos, and thereby support the states that provide effective governance, even when that governance does not achieve preferred levels of democracy and human rights.
The states Gause is referring to include the Rouhani government in Iran, the Maliki government in Iraq, the El Sisi government in Egypt, and the governments of longstanding US allies in the region such as Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and other Gulf states. All these governments have questionable (to say the least) records of democratic reform and human rights protection.
Therefore, my question is:
“wasn’t US support for undemocratic regimes, for the sake of stability in the Middle East, one of the main reasons why the United States had been repeatedly criticized for contributing to the broad conditions conducive to the 2011 Arab Uprisings???”