US hegemony and MENA

Authored by: Stephen Zunes

The Routledge Handbook to the Middle East and North African State and States System

Print publication date:  November  2019
Online publication date:  November  2019

Print ISBN: 9780367358877
eBook ISBN: 9780429342486
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9780429342486-23

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Abstract

The United States, as with other great powers over the centuries, has tried to impose its hegemonic interests in the greater Middle East only to find that it creates its own resistance. This chapter looks at US goals in the region, an overview of the post-World War II era in which the United States emerged as the most influential outside actor, and how the disastrous US invasion and occupation of Iraq underscored the hubris of US policy making and the limitations of US power. Despite efforts by President Barack Obama to back away from the imperial overreach of the George W. Bush administration, the United States still attempts to assert its efforts at influencing events in the increasingly pluralistic region. The chapter looks in particular at how the Arab Spring Uprisings took Washington by surprise and underscored the limits of US power in the face of growing agency by civil society, the problematic efforts to maintain a nuclear monopoly by the United States and Israel in the name of non-proliferation, and the contradictory US role in the Israeli–Palestinian peace process between serving as both the chief mediator in the negotiations and the primary military and diplomatic supporter of the occupying power.

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