This article examines the initial Western response to the Arab Spring. Traditional interests – oil, counterterrorism, containing Iran, and the security of Israel – offer only a limited explanation. Domestic politics and a humanitarian agenda explain some variation, but they too are insufficient. A number of leaders appeared to believe change would happen no matter what, so it was often better to embrace it than fight it. Others desired to showcase a new model, where the United States would not necessarily lead. Western powers also recognized the limits of their power and desired to maintain alliances with conservative countries like Saudi Arabia.
This is what opaque, unaccountable, monarchic rule looks like. The way this was done is not a way that gives any transparency. If you’re another senior prince or another senior businessman, you don’t know what you can do to avoid a similar fate.