Hegemony & Leadership Toolbox



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A2 – ME Hegemony



--US can’t build influence in the Middle East: events driven internally, Obama constrained, too tied to authoritarian regimes

Miller, Summer 11 public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center, served for two decades as an adviser to the U.S. secretary of state on Arab-Israeli negotiations,

Aaron David, “For America, An Arab Winter”, http://www.wilsonquarterly.com/article.cfm?aid=1967, CMR]
The administration’s limited response to both the Arab Spring and the Arab Winter reflected certain realities that would likely continue to define U.S. policy. First, the Middle East upheaval wasn’t primarily an American story. Even if the United States had desired a stronger role, it would have only made matters worse by intervening. The historic changes loosed this year throughout the Arab world represented a legitimate and authentic response by the Arabs to the need to reshape their own societies without much in the way of external reference points. This was as it should have been. Second, even if the Arabs had wanted more intervention by the United States, the Obama administration had little desire to push its way in. Iraq and Afghanistan cast long shadows. Obama’s foreign policy had already begun to mirror many of the elements of his predecessor’s. As Libya demonstrated, owning Arab countries, putting American forces on the ground, and regime change were tropes, policies, and outcomes the Obama administration strongly wished to avoid. The administration also understood that America was still very much caught up in a devil’s bargain with a number of authoritarian regimes (Bahrain, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan), and had to be cautious in what it said and did about reform. The United States might argue for democratic change, but its interests might nonetheless demand a strong regard for the status quo. Strikingly, there were no repeats of the assertive “Qaddafi must go” speech from the White House for Bahrain, Yemen, or Syria.

A2 – ME Hegemony


--Regional differences make US leadership in the Middle East impossible

Miller, Summer 11 public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center, served for two decades as an adviser to the U.S. secretary of state on Arab-Israeli negotiations,

Aaron David, “For America, An Arab Winter”, http://www.wilsonquarterly.com/article.cfm?aid=1967 CR
But even here the differences eclipse the similarities. The Arab world is not shaking off domination by a great imperial power that has entered into decline. And it includes a much wider range of polities than did Eastern Europe ca. 1990—monarchies, republics, and authoritarian regimes of various complexions. The amount and nature of change varies dramatically from country to country. In some cases (Egypt and Tunisia), the uprisings have left many established governmental institutions and political parties in place. In others, efforts to change the status quo have failed and led to state repression (Bahrain and Syria) or civil war (Libya and Yemen). Elsewhere, in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait, Jordan, and Lebanon, there’s been much less change so far or none at all. The broader point is that America has never been here before. Whatever rhythmic patterns link the current political turmoil to the past are trumped by the reality that the United States finds itself in terra incognita in a part of the world vital to its national interests, without a unified doctrine to guide it. But the absence of such a lodestar is actually fortuitous. No single strategy could possibly accommodate the differences and variations in play or harmonize America’s values, interests, and policies. The last thing the United States needs right now is ideological rigidity. Great powers at times behave inconsistently—even hypocritically—to protect their interests. It’s part of their job description.
--US can’t exercise hegemony in the Middle East

Miller, Summer 11 public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center, served for two decades as an adviser to the U.S. secretary of state on Arab-Israeli negotiations,

Aaron David, “For America, An Arab Winter”, http://www.wilsonquarterly.com/article.cfm?aid=1967 CR
Finally, if the tumultuous changes in the Arab world reveal anything, they should be a painful—or happy—reminder that America doesn’t run the world. Reinhold Niebuhr said it best decades ago: America can’t manage history. This doesn’t mean the United States is a potted plant or is in decline, or even that it lacks influence in this region. The Arab uprisings have important consequences for American interests to be sure, but they are not our story. We can support change through economic and technical aid and by looking for opportunities to defuse political tensions and work toward solutions (when real ones exist), particularly in the Arab-Israeli arena. But there are real limits to our power and influence, particularly in a region where our values and interests will continue to collide and where our policies may by definition be at odds with the rising currents of public opinion. But such is the fate of a great power engaged in a region it cannot remake and from which it cannot retreat.
--More ev – US influence limited

Miller, Summer 11 public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center, served for two decades as an adviser to the U.S. secretary of state on Arab-Israeli negotiations,

Aaron David, “For America, An Arab Winter”, http://www.wilsonquarterly.com/article.cfm?aid=1967 CR
The differences in the way the United States reacted to the situations in Libya and Syria pointed up the contradictions in its responses to this incipient Arab Winter—situations in which repression rather than regime change or reform carried the day. Moreover, both situations reflected the limits of U.S. influence and ability to shape the outcomes quickly, easily, or, perhaps in the case of Syria, at all.

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