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American Narratives of Order-Building in the Middle East: Dashed Visions on the Nile

  • Ville SinkkonenEmail author
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Part of the Perspectives on Development in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region book series (PDMENA)

Abstract

This chapter takes stock of the order-building narratives that the US has employed vis-à-vis the Middle East in the post-9/11 era, with particular focus on the case of Egypt against the backdrop of the Arab Spring revolutions of 2011. The exposition sheds light on how the narratives utilised by the successive presidential administrations have evolved, and explores how these discursive constructs are predicated upon the ways in which key policymakers fathom America’s global role and leadership in an increasingly complex twenty-first-century world. The analysis finds remarkable continuity running through the George W. Bush and Obama administrations in terms of rhetorical commitment to liberal hegemony—to America’s continued engagement in the Middle East as a superpower guarantor of order, and to democratic principles as the foundational building blocks for achieving a sustainable order. Nevertheless, discernible differences remained over the means through which such an order should be pursued. Although it may be early to render judgment on the Trump administration, it appears that a narrative shift in a direction that more closely reflects the nature of America’s policy practice vis-à-vis Egypt and the broader region is on the cards. The normative and strategic desirability of this sea change remains open to debate, however.

Keywords

United States Egypt Hegemony Regional order Narratives 

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Global Security Research Programme/ The Center on US Politics and PowerThe Finnish Institute of International AffairsHelsinkiFinland

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