Connecting the Dots: 9/11, U.S. Policy, and the Arab Spring


In a New York Times syndicated op-ed, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice argues the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 were a direct result of a lack of democracy in the Arab world.


“If people have no way to hold their governments accountable through peaceful change, they will do so violently,” Rice says. According to Rice, America’s decades-long strategy of seeking stability in the Middle East by catering to authoritarian regimes – instead of pushing for democracy and freedoms in the region – backfired.


Rice goes on to argue that, “Ten years later, it is clear that 9/11 made encouraging democracy and supporting political institutions a global necessity.” She contends that the terror attacks rallied Americans behind a new strategy in the region: promoting democracy. There is reason to be optimistic the Arab Spring will calm the region and wipe away both authoritarianism and extremism, Rice says.


Do you agree with Rice’s assessment that 9/11 was the result of America's historical failure to promote democracy in the Middle East? Has America's foreign policy response in the aftermath of 9/11 helped spark the Arab Spring?


Click here to see Rice’s Op-Ed, "Why Democracy Prevails"