David Pollock is the Bernstein Fellow at The Washington Institute, focusing on regional political dynamics and related issues.
Articles & Testimony
A “survey of surveys” shows that from an intelligence and policy point of view, Arab public opinion is measurable and meaningful—assuming regional governments and Washington are paying proper attention to it.
Mass popular discontent inspired the Arab Spring a decade ago, but its violent failures leave a very different legacy today. Surveys show that many Arabs now prioritize stability and economic sustenance over politics, revolution, or even religion. Most accept coexistence with Israel, and even more despise Iran and its sectarian allies, who have turned the Arab Spring into civil wars. Among Arab states, many leaders are highly attuned to public opinion and invest in attaining credible data for use as a tool in policy formulation. In the US, specific episodes show how adequate attention to this factor helped formulate sound Mideast policies, but inadequate attention contributed to tragic failures, even 9/11. With the signing of the Abraham Accords and a new administration in Washington, an understanding of the ranges and nuances of Arab public opinion in different countries can help contribute to informed foreign policy analysis and policy deliberations...