Understanding the Arab Awakening by Kenneth Pollack Essay

Understanding the Arab Awakening by Kenneth Pollack Essay

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The book “Understanding the Arab Awakening” was written by Kenneth Pollack and his colleagues following the events in the Middle East in order to discuss the causes of the massive uprisings, why the results of revolution varied from country to country and what kind of conclusions they help draw for the international observers in general and the United States in its policy towards the region in particular. With the introduction section of the book being taken as the point of analysis, the following paper supports the argument proposed by Kenneth Pollack that the Arab Spring mainly happened due to social unrest caused by poor economic situation across the entire Middle East which was enabled by the ruling regimes, the majority of which mostly shared the authoritarian, generally unstable, character. He critically considered the role of the US, deeming its clear distinction between short-term and long-term interests taken before invalid and required to change. However, there are some grey areas in his work that could possibly undermine his end-of-section recommendations, mainly the degree of importance attributed to the US actions for regulating the situation in the Middle East and the lack of evidence of how exactly the US would pursue its aims. The careful consideration of the article will follow the chronological order Pollack himself chose to persuasively present his case.
Pollack started with his view of why the Arab Spring took place; why the Mohamed Bouazizi’ self-immolation, a single act in Tunisia, inspired the masses on a regional scale. According to him, previously the Middle East had been already experiencing huge economic disasters for some decades: unemployment figures had been growing annually, the corruption took root...


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...trong groups loyal to former regimes. By clearly manipulating the US benevolent actions and the overall disappointment that usually comes shortly after revolutions because of unrealized expectations (the Arab Spring did not lead to major overhaul of the system in economic and social terms), they could remobilize support for them and regain power. Yet these debatable points could be somehow justified due to the limitations of his work only being the introduction to the book. Ultimately, even the author himself admitted that the research on the Arab Spring was still inconclusive and might require years to truly experience all of its influences (Pollack 2011, p. 01).



Works Cited

Pollack, Kenneth M. et al. 2011. “Understanding the Arab Awakening: Introduction”, pp. 01-09.
http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/press/books/2011/thearabawakening/thearabawakening_chapter.pdf

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