MIDDLE EAST : U.S. Policy – Analysts Critical of Obama MENA Democracy Funding Cuts

POMED’s Advocacy Director Cole Bockenfeld said of the Obama administrations funding cuts to Middle East democracy programming: “In many ways, there was already a widespread perception that this administration was giving up on promoting democracy in the Middle East, and major cuts to democracy funding will further confirm those fears.

 […] there is clearly a diminished focus on democracy best illustrated by Obama’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly.” Shadi Hamid and Peter Mandaville wrote, “Western democratization pressure will be less effective in the Middle East [than it was in the past] because of the more existential nature of ideological divides, but it is still important.” They add, “Since the start of the Arab Spring, the U.S. has failed to think big and deliver an ambitious policy response worthy of these momentous events. If recent events have taught us anything, it is that “stability,” pursued through traditional means, is an illusion.” Meanwhile, Paul Bonicelli stated, “The Obama administration’s decision to reduce democracy funding for the Middle East and North Africa is disappointing if not a surprise.”