How Should the United States Address Authoritarian States in the post-Arab Spring World? (worksheet)

President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, King Salman of Saudi Arabia, First Lady Melania Trump, and President Donald Trump, 2017. CREDIT: The White House (CC)

The Arab Spring protesters demanded democracy. While some of the countries in the region did achieve modest reforms (Tunisia), many turned to instability, military rule, and violence (Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Egypt). With these results, should the U.S. be promoting democracy in the Middle East and North Africa? The attached worksheet allows students to come to their own conclusion on what should be the best diplomatic approach in the region: economic development, good governance training, or a completely new program.

The worksheet is based off an October 2017 talk by Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow Steven A. Cook at Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. He spoke about the changes in the Middle East and North Africa since 2011 as detailed in his book False Dawn: Protest Democracy and Violence in the New Middle East.