Constructing America's Freedom Agenda for the Middle East
Democracy or Domination
By Oz Hassan
Routledge – 2013 – 248 pages
This book explores how George W. Bush’s Freedom Agenda for the Middle East and North Africa was conceived and implemented as an American national interest, from the Bush era right through to the initial stages of the Obama administration. It highlights how the crisis presented by September 11 2001 led to regime change in Afghanistan and Iraq, but more broadly how American policy towards the region had a softer imperial side, which drew on broader economic theories of democratisation and modernisation. The Freedom Agenda contained within it a prescribed method of combating terrorism, but also a method of engaging with and reforming the entire Middle East region more broadly, with many institutions seeking to use the opportunity to implement neo-liberal market logics in the region. Constructing America's Freedom Agenda for the Middle East highlights the particular understanding of "freedom" that underpins America’s imperial project in the region; a project trapped between a policy of democratisation and domination. This book analyses the Freedom Agenda in significantly more depth than in available current literature and would be of interest to students and researchers of global politics and international foreign policy of recent years.
"Skillfully navigating ideologically-infested waters, Hassan arrives at valuable insights and persuasive, dispassionate conclusions about U.S. policy under both Bush and Obama relating to Arab political change. A fine example of rigorous, reflective scholarship applied to current policy issues of considerable importance and controvery."
Thomas Carothers, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
1. American Interests and a History of Promoting the Status Quo 2. A Constructivist Institutionalist Methodology 3. From Candidate to Crisis: Laying the Discursive tracks of the Freedom Agenda 4. September to December 2001: The Decisive Intervention 5. Constructing the Freedom Agenda for the Middle East 6. Institutionalising the Freedom Agenda: A Policy of Conservative Radicalism 7. Obama’s Freedom Agenda: Conservative Pragmatism and the 2011 Revolutions
Oz Hassan is an Assistant Professor in US National Security at the University of Warwick, UK.