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Arab Spring highlights tradeoffs between American values and interests

July 30, 2012

US foreign policymakers may have gotten more than they bargained for in the Arab Spring. As David Kirkpatrick observes on The Lede blog on the New York Times website, President Obama

could not have guessed that the demand for Arab democracy [in his Cairo speech in 2009] would instead become one of his presidency’s greatest foreign policy challenges, forcing whoever wins the November election to confront tough trade offs between American values and interests.

Kirkpatrick emphasizes three “pressing dilemmas” for American policymakers following from the Arab Spring: 

  1. The rising power of Islamist parties that have been democratically elected in Egypt and Tunisia; 
  2. The threat insurgents pose to other undemocratic American allies, like Bahrain; and 
  3. The eruption of sectarian conflicts that had previously been contained by autocrats, like Syria’s Bashra al-Assad. 

Read the full story here at the New York Times website. 

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