The Arab Spring, the name for a series of uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa from 2010 to 2011, was one of the most tumultuous and influential periods in human history, one whose repercussions are still not fully understood. This is in part due to the distinctly different rebellions and riots that took place in each of these nations and the unique resolutions each country has pursued in response. These uprisings and their resolutions would forever change the landscape of international relations.
More important than the outcome though was the actual agent of change. While scholars are still working to understand all the factors that led to and guided the Arab Spring, according to the Washington Post, they all share one common factor. Every one of the Arab uprisings was influenced by politics at the international level. It is difficult to explain what happened in Egypt without talking about what happened in Saudi Arabia, or Qatar, or Libya.
There have been wars on an international scale before, and countries have had their politics influenced by other nations. The Vietnam War alone stands as a testament to what happens when two opposing ideological superpowers use other nations as a proxy. The Arab Spring, however, is the first period of revolution in human history where international politics led to massive transnational political events across so many countries. It was a regional impact on multiple sovereign states that was only possible because of the transnational influence of modern politics.
Scholars who study international relations are still working to understand what this means and how international politics influenced the Arab Spring. It goes without saying that this signals a radical shift in the course of political thought as educational institutions begin to shift the discussion in response to a better understanding of the Arab Spring’s impact. The rise of ISIS, the refugee crisis in Europe, and the war in Syria, can all be sourced back to the Arab Spring, and are not likely the last world-changing events to be influenced by the region-wide events of 2010 to 2011.