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The Obama Administration and the Arab Spring Lecture

Marissa Poggio

On November 2nd, Dr. Muhammad Muslih, a political science professor specializing in the Middle East, gave a lecture on President Obama and the Arab Spring.  The Arab Spring is a chain of democratic protests that have been occurring in the Arab world in order to overthrow the leaders who are in power.

Dr. Muslih started off the lecture explaining about the Arab Spring and the different countries that have revolted against their leaders.  Starting in Tunisia in December of 2010, the uprisings spread to places such as Egypt, Yemen, Syria, and Libya. These were the main areas of the world that Dr. Muslih focused on.

From there, he continued to talk about each specific region separately.  He also described what he viewed as former President Bush’s goals in the Middle East and then compared them to those of President Obama.  His opinion was that President Bush was determined to promote democracy in the Arab World.   President Bush, according to Dr. Muslih, seemed to make the United States play a more powerful role when dealing with the Middle East, but President Obama came to the White House with a specific agenda: to raise the United State’s profile in Asia and diminish the United State’s role in the Arab World.

Alize Margulis, a sophomore majoring in International Studies said, “I thought the lecture was interesting.  I liked how Dr. Muslih started with the advantages and disadvantages of the Bush Administration, moved on to the Obama Administration, and then talked about what their goals in international relations and policies are within the United States.”

Whereas President Bush’s intentions in the Arab World may have been more involved, Dr. Muslih stated, “Obama’s approach toward the Arab Spring is not comprehensive; it is a case study.”  It is unkown exactly what President Obama will do in the future if there is another uprising since he has acted differently in every sitatuation.  With the pace at which revolts have been occuring in the Arab World, the next wave of protests probably isn’t too far away.  Sophmore political science major Dakota Braun also liked the lecture saying, “I thought it was very insightful.  It put into perspective the Obama Administration policies in the Middle East.”

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