Dr. Jason Brownlee, Professor of Government at the University of Texas at Austin, will discuss American attempts to coerce political change in Muslim countries since 9/11 - and the political instability this has generated - with MEI Faculty Director Professor Tarek Masoud.

During the Global War on Terror, American attempts to coerce political change in Muslim countries have brought intense social conflict with such law-like regularity that political instability should be considered — if not a deliberate feature of US military interventions — then, at the least, a foreseeable consequence that cannot be avoided by the brightest of minds and the noblest of intentions. The structural link between America’s armed disruption of local authority arrangements, on one side, and the outbreak of new and seemingly interminable civil wars, on the other side, confounds arguments that Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and other focal points of the GWOT would be better-off if the United States had pursued lengthier and more intensive military operations. On the contrary, because foreign interventionists always enjoy exit options that are not available to indigenous civilians and belligerents, the most reliable mechanisms for political accommodation — and the strongest prospects for internal and external peace — lie with local leaders and their constituents, acting as independently as possible from alien pressures and agendas.

Jason Brownlee researches and teaches about the comparative politics of democracy and development. He is the author of Authoritarianism in an Age of Democratization (Cambridge University Press, 2007), Democracy Prevention: The Politics of the U.S.-Egyptian Alliance (Cambridge University Press, 2012), and (with Tarek Masoud and Andrew Reynolds) The Arab Spring: Pathways of Repression and Reform (Oxford University Press, 2012), as well as articles in American Journal of Political Science, World Politics, Comparative Political Studies, and other scholarly journals. Professor Brownlee is currently studying democracy and development challenges in developing and OECD countries.