After the Arab Spring: Caught in History’s Crosswinds

Issue Date October 2015
Volume 26
Issue 4
Page Numbers 75-79
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The handful of political openings that occurred in Arab countries after the 2011 uprisings have yielded a bitter harvest that Arabs and non-Arabs alike are struggling to comprehend. The essays that follow go a long way toward demolishing certain early analyses of what went awry following the “Arab Spring.” Arab publics never really wanted democracy in the first place, one argument goes; they wanted economic betterment and gave up on the idea of democratic governance as soon as insecurity loomed and material benefits failed to appear. Another argument is that the Arab uprisings were all just so much hype, a soap bubble of social- and broadcast-media enthusiasm that quickly collapsed.