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Prof. Sheri Berman on the promise of the Arab Spring

In Foreign Affairs, political science professor Sheri Berman writes about the Arab uprisings of 2011, the lingering sectarian clashes and political instability, and the need for United States policy to reflect that reality. An excerpt:

"Two years after the outbreak of what has come to be known as the Arab Spring, the bloom is off the rose. Fledgling democracies in North Africa are struggling to move forward or even maintain control, government crackdowns in the Persian Gulf and elsewhere have kept liberalization at bay, and Syria is slipping ever deeper into a vicious civil war that threatens to ignite the Middle East. Instead of widespread elation about democracy finally coming to the region, one now hears pessimism about the many obstacles in the way, fear about what will happen next, and even open nostalgia for the old authoritarian order. Last June, when the Egyptian military dismissed parliament and tried to turn back the clock by gutting the civilian presidency, The Wall Street Journal's chief foreign policy columnist cracked, "Let's hope it works." (It didn't.) And Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi's attempted power grab in November made such nostalgia commonplace."

Read the full article (subscription required).

Prof. Berman is a professor of political science and her main interests are European politics and political history, democracy and democratization, globalization, and the history of the left.