CAHSS Faculty Articles

Title

Tamara Cofman Wittes's Freedom's Unsteady March: America's Role in Building Arab Democracy. Washington, DC: Bookings Institution Press, 2008

Department

Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

Publication Date

Spring 2009

Publication Title

American Review of Politics

Volume

30

Abstract

Excerpt

For eight years, the spreading of American-style democracy and the building of democratic institutions in the Arab world was a pillar of President George W. Bush's foreign policy. The Freedom Agenda, as the Bush administration formally called it, was sold as the sociopolitical face of the United State's counterterrorism agenda. The Freedom Agenda managed to make U.S. foreign policy and democracy promotion synonymous with each other. Arguably, in the Arab world the results have been disastrous. The utter failure of the Freedom Agenda has resulted in the ideas associated with spreading democracy and the building of democratic institutions highly unpopular. In Freedom's Unsteady March: America's Role in Building Arab Democracy, Tamara Cofman Wittes's main argument is that Arab democracy and American involvement in the Arab world is a necessity and fundamental to both Arab and American security. She argues that it is imperative that the U.S. facilitate democratic reform within the region. She shows why the Bush administration was correct to help facilitate democratic movements; however, she argues that they went about it in the wrong way. Witte dissects the Bush Administration's failures and uses them as building-blocks to develop a rational, long-term democracy promotion policy to assist the next presidential administration.

Peer Reviewed

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