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US democracy promotion in the Middle East: the pursuit of hegemony?

Markakis, Dionysius (2012) US democracy promotion in the Middle East: the pursuit of hegemony? PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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The promotion of 'democracy' abroad has been a feature of US foriegn policy since the early part of the twentieth century, accompanying its rise as an international actor. It provided the ideological basis for its opposition to rivals in the form of imperialism, fascism and communism. The end of the Cold War, which signalled the emergence of the US as the sole superpower, accelerated this process. With the ideological fusion of democracy and capitalism credited in large measure for the defeat of capitalism and state-planned economy, the promotion of democracy alongside capitalism as the only viable, legitimate mode of governance emerged as an increasingly important component of US foreign policy. Countries as diverse as the Philippines, Chile and Poland have all been subject to US democracy promotion initiatives. In the Middle East though, the US traditionally engaged authoritarian governments as a means of ensuring its core interests in the region. However the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the G. W. Bush administration's perception of the Middle East's 'democratic deficit' as underlying cause, initiated a significant departure in the traditional direction of US policy. Democracy promotion subsequently emerged as a central tenet of US policy to the Middle East. This thesis argues that, as part of the strategy of democracy promotion in the Middle East, the US has sought to gradually replace proxy authoritarian governments with elite-based democracies. From a neo-Gramscian perspective, this strategic shift can be seen as a move from coercive to consensual forms of social control, the underlying aim being to ensure a more enduring form of stability in the states concerned. This is part of a long-term US strategy, evidences prior in other regions such as Latin America, which ultimately aims at the achievement of a Gramscian hegemony; that is the internalisation by other societies of the US interpretation of 'democracy', and associated norms and values, as the natural order. Utilising an analytical framework derived from the neo-Gramscian approach, the thesis focuses in the main on the Clinton (1993-2001) and G. W. Bush (2001-2008) administrations, and uses the following case studies - Egypt, Irag and Kuwait - to examine the US strategy of democracy promotion in the Middle East,

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2012 Dionysius Markakis
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Sets: Departments > International Relations

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