Was There An Arab Spring?

“There was no ‘Arab Spring.’ Conservative columnists originally cooked up the term in 2005 to describe a non-event that they imagined was taking place in the Arab world as a result of George W. Bush’s ‘Freedom Agenda.’ That Arab Spring did not live up to its hype, nor did democracy come to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and yes, Iraq and Lebanon, where its cheerleaders had breathlessly predicted it would. The term was forgotten, then resurrected in 2011 after a string of uprisings that were in some ways similar and in other ways disparate broke out in the Arab world. ‘Arab Spring’ is an unfortunate turn of phrase: By drawing on associations of hope and renewal that Spring brings, it raised expectations so high that it was inevitable they would not be met.”