The Arab Spring
The Failure of the Obama Doctrine
by Edward A. Lynch
June 2021, 270pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-7641-7
$85, £66, 74€, A117
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-7642-4
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

The year 2021 marks the 10th anniversary of the Arab Spring revolutions of 2010–2011, the most important and seminal political events in the Middle East and North Africa region in the past 50 years. More change came to more governments in a shorter amount of time than at any other point since the end of World War II.

This title provides a succinct, readable, and comprehensive treatment of how the Obama administration reacted to what was arguably the most difficult foreign policy challenge of its eight years in office: the Arab Spring.

As a prelude to examining how the United States reacted to the first wave of the Arab Spring in the 21st century, this book begins with an examination of how the U.S. reacted to revolution in the 19th and 20th centuries and a summary of how foreign policy is made. Each revolution in the Arab Spring (in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Bahrain, and Yemen) and the Obama administration’s action—or inaction—in response is carefully analyzed. The U.S.’ role is compared to that of regional powers, such as Turkey, Israel, and Iran. The impact of U.S. abdication in the face of pivotal events in the region is the subject of the book’s conclusion.

While other treatments have addressed how the Arab Spring revolutions have affected the individual countries where these revolutions took place, U.S. foreign policy toward the Middle East, and President Barack Obama’s overall foreign policy, this is the only work that provides a comprehensive examination of both the Arab Spring revolutions themselves and the reaction of the U.S. government to those revolutions.


  • Stands as the only academic book that specifically considers U.S. foreign policy with regard to the Arab Spring
  • Presents the Arab Spring as a pivotal event, the U.S. reaction as a watershed, and an understanding of this interplay as vital to understanding international politics in our time
  • Traces the often roundabout paths to the creation of U.S. policy during the Arab Spring and examines the effects of those policies
  • Serves as an essential text for academics studying the Middle East, U.S. foreign policy, the progress of revolution, and politics in the developing world; policymakers wishing to understand how the Obama administration dealt with the most complex crisis of its eight years; and interested readers
Edward A. Lynch, PhD, is John P. Wheeler Professor of Political Science at Hollins University. He is author of The Cold War's Last Battlefield: Reagan, the Soviets, and Central America and numerous other works on U.S. foreign policy in the developing world. Lynch worked on foreign policy issues for the Office of Public Liaison in the White House, where he interacted daily with U.S. foreign policy makers. He has traveled widely in the Middle East as a researcher, receiving fellowships from the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations and the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa.

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