The United States and the Arab Spring: A Mixed Approach of Cautious Optimism and Indifference

  • Cenap Çakmak


Like many other regional and global actors, the USA was caught unprepared by the Arab Spring, a series of popular protests in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region that culminated in the overthrow of the long-standing authoritarian regimes in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt and also led to some major changes in others (Goodwin, 2011, pp. 452–456). Whereas political change and transformation in the region have been favored and occasionally zealously supported by US administrations, an Arab Spring-like popular movement had long been ruled out because the political environment appeared to lack the necessary dynamics and political ground. This assumption, often presented as a bias and a stereotype, was justified by referring to the alleged absence of popular demands for democracy and of an organized political opposition (Tessler, 2002). In other words, the assumption suggested that even though, by way of speculation, they were displeased with their repressive regimes, the people in the region never had the necessary mechanisms and instruments to convey their demands to the political domain. The Arab Spring that started in Tunisia when a street vendor committed self-immolation in protest of the dire economic conditions at least partially proved this assumption wrong (Babacan, Hasṃlak, & Hira, 2011).


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cenap Çakmak
    • 1
  1. 1.Independent ResearcherEskişehirTurkey

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