Dr. Waleed Hazbun, “In America’s Wake: Turbulence and Insecurity in the Middle East” Journal Article

In America’s Wake: Turbulence and Insecurity in the Middle East

Dr. Waleed Hazbun (University of Alabama)

POMEPS Studies 34: Shifting Global Politics and the Middle East (edited by Marc Lynch and Amaney Jamal (Washington DC: Project on Middle East Political Science, 2019); Contribution to edited volume March 19, 2019.


Since the Arab Uprisings, Middle East geopolitics has transformed from a system organized around and against a US-managed security architecture into a multipolar system lacking norms, institutions, or balancing mechanisms to constrain conflict and the use of force. This shift is a product of repeated US efforts to order the region through coercive force but also shaped by the emerging multipolar system at the global level. With regional Middle East states lacking a shared understanding of threats, US post-9/11 interventions failed to establish a stable regional security architecture. Instead, they generated intense insecurity for both rival and allied states while witnessing the proliferation of armed non-state actors. As the regional system has become more complex and multipolar, continued US reliance on coercion, rather than accommodation and compromise, has only intensified the forces of regional instability.