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The unhappy results of what was once known optimistically as the "Arab Spring" have led many analysts to suggest that the United States should stop supporting democracy in the Arab world. It doesn't work, the argument goes, and things end up worse rather than better. In this view, President Obama was right to dump the Bush "Freedom Agenda" because the end of the regimes in Libya, Syria, Egypt, and Tunisia has resulted only in violence and instability. Moreover, our policies have offended many of our friends in the region.

But are these arguments correct? Can the United States be indifferent to the effort to build democracy in the Arab world? Are there ways for the United States to help those struggling for democracy, more effectively and at lower cost? The topic of the lecture is the current condition and future prospects of democracy in the Arab world, and the challenge this presents to American foreign policy.