Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Post-American Middle East

What Is The Future For US Relations With The Arab World and Beyond?

For generations the Middle East has served as a setting for the grand narratives of American imperial power. US presidents have had a long-standing and complex relationship with Arab leaders, often playing puppet-master to the proxies and despots they put in power to look out for US interests.

The Arab Spring ushered in the debut performance of a new player: The Arab people themselves. And they are loud, clear, and unabashed about their desire to take the front seat in the policies and procedures of their region.
"I don't think the Arab Spring is the greatest thing for American interests."
- Robert Kaplan, the national correspondent forThe Atlantic 

From attacked embassies to unwinnable wars, the Arab world is quickly and deftly slipping out of US control and the power the US has enjoyed in the Middle East may finally be reaching an end.

As the Arab people begin to proactively tell their leaders and the world what they want, the question now becomes how the US, so accustomed to directing the region as it pleases, will deal with its diminishing power.

Empire asks: Will the US continue to try to dictate its own agenda with hard power? Or will it 'lead from behind', accepting a more multilateral role working with the Arab people and their leaders? 

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