Lecture by Waleed Hazbun, Associate Professor of Political Studies at American University of Beirut and CMES Visiting Scholar.
The Arab Uprisings marked the end of the American era in the Middle East. In attempting to sketch the outlines of the emerging regional order and the US role in it, this presentation explains why the US has to operate with diminished leverage in an increasingly unstable and complex political and security landscape. With the erosion of state governance and capacity, the very texture of regional geopolitics is being transformed as diverse hybrid actors and transnational processes create networks and social organizations that are not fully or formally sovereign but nonetheless increasingly wield power and control territory. With both rival and allied states similarly seeking to influence and control such networks, the result is a turbulent regional system in which state interests are often hard to discern and shift in complex ways. In the new post-American era, regardless of its degree of intervention, the US will likely have to operate with limited political leverage and a reduced capacity to achieve its goals.
Waleed Hazbun is Associate Professor in Political Studies at the American University of Beirut. His main areas of research include international political economy, international relations of the Middle East, US foreign policy, and the politics of travel and tourism. He is the author of Beaches, Ruins, Resorts: The Politics of Tourism in the Arab World (University of Minnesota Press), and is currently developing a new book project on the global politics of aviation.