Share this

From Resilience to Revolution: How Foreign Interventions Destabilize the Middle East, Sean L. Yom

Reviewed by David A. Lake



Sean L. Yom has written a brilliant yet easily digestible monograph that explains the essential problem facing regimes in the Middle East today. The key idea is that external patronage, although perhaps stabilizing in the short run, is ultimately destructive by allowing leaders to forgo inclusive bargains with their domestic social groups and by encouraging reliance on repression and exclusionary institutions. External diplomatic, fiscal, and military support, in other words, is akin to the “resource curse” or foreign aid in obviating the need for regimes to develop strong social coalitions that legitimate their rule. In Yom’s view—correct, I think—state weakness follows not from “bad” institutions, as in much of the current literature, but from the failure to invest in social support. External patronage, even if only an implicit guarantee of the regime, reduces incentives for leaders to make the kinds of political and policy compromises necessary to build regime legitimacy.

This argument is illustrated in three well-researched case studies. In Kuwait, the ruling Sabah family lacked an external patron from the 1930s on. Britain, which had previously backed the regime, made clear in June 1938 that it had no intention of sustaining the family in the midst of a constitutional crisis. The monarchy was then forced to negotia

To continue reading, see options above.

About PSQ's Editor

Demetrios James Caraley

Full Access

Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.

Editor’s spotlight

North Korea and the West

The Debate over North Korea


Search the Archives

Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilson

view additional issues

New APS Book

Continuing Issues in U.S. National Security Policy   CONTINUING ISSUES IN U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY

Most read

Articles | Book reviews

Understanding the Bush Doctrine
Robert Jervis

The Study of Administration
Woodrow Wilson

Notes on Roosevelt's "Quarantine" Speech
Dorothy Borg

view all

About US

Academy of Political Science

The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Political Science Quarterly

With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.

Stay Connected

newsstand locator
About APS