The Passport for June 2018

This is an online version of the monthly newsletter of the World Affairs Council of the Monterey Bay Area (WACMB). You may click here to see other online issues or click here to reach the archive of recent issues in PDF format.

Luncheon Meeting – Friday, 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


Rancho Canada
4860 Carmel Valley Road

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
  • $29 for members
  • $35 for guests
  • Credit card charge: $2 each person

Click here to open or download the luncheon reservation form in PDF format.

Did You Know?

The World Affairs Council of Monterey Bay is a member of the World Affairs Councils of America

Our parent organization has had a long and distinguished history. Here’s what WACA’s website has to say about it:

“The World Affairs Councils of America traces its earliest roots to 1918, when the League of Free Nations Association was formed by 141 distinguished Americans, including the social reformer Paul Kellogg, to support President Woodrow Wilson’s efforts to achieve a just peace.  At the end of World War I, the Association’s founders were concerned that Americans would choose isolationism over a foreign policy based on international engagement.  They worked to promote and nurture public awareness of critical international issues affecting the U.S., and in 1923 reconstituted the organization as the Foreign Policy Association.  John Foster Dulles and Eleanor Roosevelt were among the FPA’s incorporators.

“Citizen discussion groups and FPA branches began to form and spread in the 1920s,1930s, and after World War II – forerunners of the independent World Affairs Councils of subsequent decades.  In 1954, the Great Decisions program was launched in Oregon.

Based on the annual briefing book prepared by FPA’s editors, Great Decisions has become the largest nonpartisan public education program on international affairs in the world.  The FPA consolidated its operations into its New York City headquarters in the 1980s while the network of independent councils on world affairs continued to flourish.

“In 1986, the National Council of World Affairs Organizations office was established in Washington, DC.  The organization was renamed the World Affairs Councils of America, and today WACA serves more than 90 World Affairs Councils nationwide, in 40 states and the District of Columbia.

“In an age of globalization and a rapidly shifting international order, we believe that our mission – engaging the public and leaders to better understand global affairs and America’s role in the world – is more vital than ever.”

To learn more about our umbrella organization, as well as to access much valuable information about current world affairs, visit the World Affairs Councils of America’s website at