Luncheon Meeting on June 8, 2018


The Demise of the Arab Spring and the Deep State


Dr. Robert Springborg

Italian Institute of
International Affairs

Naval Postgraduate School (ret.)




The term “deep state” came into American parlance in the early months of the Trump administration on both sides of the political spectrum. Few Americans are aware, however, that the concept of the deep state can be traced to the Middle East and North Africa. Indeed, many specialists on the region believe that the existence of deep states helps to explain the rise and fall of the Arab Spring.

In his remarks, Dr. Springborg will suggest that applying the term “deep state” to U.S. institutions is stretching the concept too far. Unlike in the Middle East, American coercive institutions are under civilian control and subject to the rule of law, and they have not penetrated and subordinated other governmental bodies or civil society as they have in the Middle East. The negative consequences Arab deep states had for both political and economic development undermined the ability of their people to successfully organize nationally and to convert their Arab Spring movements into democratic transitions. More recently, deep states that survived in the Arab republics have been reinforced, as have those in Turkey and Iran; attempts to build or rebuild them from the bottom up are underway in Libya, Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq, and from the top down in some of the Arab monarchies. In most of the Middle East, “real” politics that determine who gets what, when and how, are the preserve of deep states, leaving only a largely meaningless “pseudopolitics” for normal citizens.

Robert Springborg is a specialist on Middle East governance and politics, with a special focus on Egypt and U.S. policy toward the region. His books include Mubarak’s Egypt; Globalization and the Politics of Development in the Middle East; and Egypt. He has worked as a consultant on the Middle East for the U.S. Agency for International Development, the United Nations Development Program, and various British government departments. Dr. Springborg is currently a non-resident research fellow of the Italian Institute of International Affairs.


Friday, June 8, 2018
11:30 am: Registration
11:50 am: Luncheon
12:50 pm: Program

Luncheon Menu

  • Wedgewood Salad with Italian Dressing
  • Chicken in a Pesto Cream Sauce
  • Roasted Red Potatoes and Vegetables
  • Fresh Rolls and Butter
  • Chef’s Choice Dessert
  • Coffee
  • Vegetarian Option: Tortellini in Pesto Cream Sauce with Parmesan

Luncheon Cost

  • $29 for members
  • $35 for guests
  • Credit card charge: $2 each person
  • Lecture is open to the public at no charge, beginning at 12:50pm


To register by mail, fax, or phone, click here to view or download the Luncheon Reservation form in PDF file format and follow the instructions.


4860 Carmel Valley Rd
Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923