Episode 5, July 2022: “The ‘D’ Word” | Erin Snider on U.S. Democracy Aid to the Middle East

Professor Erin Snider of Texas A&M University discusses her new book, Marketing Democracy: The Political Economy of Democracy Aid in the Middle East (Cambridge University Press, 2022), with POMED Deputy Director for Research Amy Hawthorne.

Snider’s book traces the trajectory of the several billion dollars that the United States spent to “promote democracy” in the Middle East from the end of the Cold War through the Obama administration. She explains why the United States chose to fund democracy programs in this region in the first place and how Washington “marketed” such aid to Arab regimes. Snider also describes how these regimes negotiated to make such programs less threatening to their own interests—and even exploited the aid to reinforce their repressive powers.


This interview is part of POMED’s video series, “Between the Lines,” featuring interviews with authors of recent publications that explore rights and governance issues across the Middle East and North Africa. To be notified of future episodes, subscribe to POMED’s YouTube channel.