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[BRIEFING] Realism and Democracy American Foreign Policy after the Arab Spring

  • The Heritage Foundation 214 Massachusetts Avenue Northeast Washington, DC, 20002 United States (map)

In Realism and Democracy former Deputy National Security Advisor Elliot Abrams argues in favor of an American foreign policy that combines practical politics, idealism, and support for democracy and human rights in the Arab world. America, he contends, is weary and turning away from support for struggling democracies in the Middle East as the promise of the Arab Spring turned to disillusionment and fear of Islamist political advances. The temptation to make deals with repressive regimes, however, must be resisted, Abrams argues, as repression only breeds more Islamist fundamentalism and violence. Democracy, on the other hand, still offers the best competing idea and will ultimately flourish if given consistent U.S. support. Providing a view from the frontlines of Middle East policy under the 43rd President, Abrams gives a compelling account of how the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 changed the Bush Administration's priorities and Middle East foreign policy direction.

Elliot Abrams is Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council for Foreign Relations. He previously served as Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights in the Reagan Administration and as Deputy National Security Advisor in the George W. Bush Administration.