Hollins Professor Examines Arab Spring, Qatar Boycott in New Books

Ed Lynch

Two new books written by Edward A. Lynch, John P. Wheeler Professor of Political Science at Hollins University, offer analysis of two of the Middle East’s most significant political crises in recent years.

The Arab Spring: The Failure of the Obama Doctrine, published by Praeger Security International, looks at the wave of revolutions that shook the Middle East ten years ago and the challenges those events posed to the Obama administration. Isolating Qatar: The Gulf Rift Crisis 2017-2021 (tentative title), forthcoming from Lynne Rienner Publishers (LRP), focuses on the events of June 2017, when Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates announced a comprehensive boycott of Qatar.

Praeger describes The Arab Spring as “a succinct, readable, and comprehensive treatment of how the Obama administration reacted to what was arguably the most difficult foreign policy challenge of its eight years in office.”

“That reaction included confusing mixed signals, inconsistent application of principles, and a repeated tendency to draw the wrong lessons from each succeeding upheaval,” Lynch says. “As a result, U.S. influence in the region diminished.”

When Qatar was blockaded, Lynch notes, “it seemed that disaster loomed for this small Gulf nation. But not so. Instead, in an unexpected turn of events, the Qatari government deftly used its enormous wealth and extensive reserves of soft power to nullify most of the effects of what came to be known as the ‘Rift.’”

“Exploring the historical and contemporary causes of the dispute, the reactions to it both regionally and globally, and the surprising end to the crisis, Isolating Qatar serves also to highlight the often unrecognized role of small states in international relations,” says LRP.

A member of the Hollins faculty since 1991, Lynch was a foreign policy consultant to the Reagan administration and is a frequent commentator on political events. He has made several trips to the Middle East for research. He is the author of six books and numerous articles.