This essay questions the division between autocratic and democratic regimes and suggests that they are the same kind of regime but deploy differing amounts of hegemony and coercion to rule and to produce certain combinations of love and fear in the ruled. Using Machiavelli’s advice to the Prince as a frame, the essay analyzes these strategies of rule as they were used by the United States government and by the Arab regimes in the context of the Arab uprisings of 2011. The essay contextualizes these strategies in the history of the Cold War, the rise of neoliberal economics, and the struggle for accountability, representativity, and social justice in Arab countries.
Love, Fear, and the Arab Spring
Joseph Massad teaches modern Arab politics and intellectual history at Columbia University. He is the author of Colonial Effects: The Making of National Identity in Jordan (2001), The Persistence of the Palestinian Question (2006), and Desiring Arabs (2007). He is currently finishing a book titled Islam in Liberalism.