PositiveThe BafflerOne of the difficulties in writing about the Arab Spring is that the term really refers to a series of mutually inspired but quite different national conflicts. Yet in his new book, Noah Feldman...has tried to outline a unified theory ... On the face of it, his argument is unconvincing ... Feldman’s book purports to challenge the conventional wisdom on the Arab Spring by taking the region on its own terms and setting aside the simplifying lens of imperialism. In fact, he follows the main principle set down by the foreign policy establishment: namely, that the role played by the United States should be ignored or excused ... Feldman does recognize the existence of an American empire, but for him it is either past or passing ... The conventional wisdom today in the United States is that America is finally disengaging from the Arab World ... In my view this is mostly rhetoric. The strategic reasons for U.S. predominance in the Middle East are unchanged. This is precisely why a reinvigoration of civilian politics in the region remains very difficult.