Democracy & Society Call for Submissions, Volume 8, Issue 1
Call for Submissions: Democracy & Society, Volume 8, Issue 1
We are seeking well-written, interesting submissions of 1500-2000 words on the themes below, including summaries and/or excerpts of recently completed research, new publications, and works in progress, for the Fall 2010 edition of Democracy & Society, the biannual journal of Georgetown's Center for Democracy and Civil Society. Submissions for the issue are due Friday, October 15, 2010.
The Obama Administration and the US Relationship with the Broader Middle East
Solving exigent crises in the broader Middle East is one of the Obama administration’s top priorities. Not only has the administration made little progress on most of these issues, in many areas the problems seem to be getting worse:
• No Crises Solved, New Ones Generated. The administration’s efforts to solve the Israeli-Palestinian crisis and block Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons have failed to achieve concrete results. Stability in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate, even as the US sends in more troops. While the administration has kept its promise to withdraw combat troops from Iraq, security remains tenuous and the Iraqi government is paralyzed. In addition, new threats are emerging from Al Qaeda in Somalia and Yemen, and recent floods in Pakistan have weakened a government already struggling to contain a violent insurgency. More broadly, perceptions of declining US influence in the region are strengthening the power of its adversaries, such as Iran.
• Stalled Political Reform Efforts. Due to the aforementioned crises and the perceived necessity of leaders in some non-democratic states in the region, such as Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, to assist in solving them, US support for political reform in the broader Middle East has stalled. Political freedoms in some these countries are backsliding.
• Deteriorating Public Opinion. Public opinion data from the US suggests the country is as hostile to the Muslim world - and in many ways more hostile - than any time since the September 11, 2001 Al Qaeda attack. Public opinion towards the US in much of the broader Middle East, for the most part, is as hostile as it was during the Bush administration, despite a slight improvement following President Obama’s election.
What are the causes of the inability of the Obama administration to solve - and prevent - crises in the US relationship with the broader Middle East? To what extent can changes in US leadership and/or strategies reverse these trends? To what degree do they reflect the inability of leaders in the region to contain pressures emanating from their own countries? What factors most distinguish the Obama administration - or not - from its predecessors with regard to approaching the Middle East? Most troubling, do the problems the administration faces derive from real or perceived declining US power?
This issue of Democracy and Society will analyze the Obama administration’s relationship with the broader Middle East, and what it suggests about the US’s future relationship with the region, US public support for regional engagement, and the US’s ability to project power in these countries. We are interested in analyzing these issues from the point of view of the US, countries in the broader Middle East, and/or other regions of the world. We also welcome submissions that focus on the public opinion and its possible links to public policy.