Senator Jack Reed on the Middle East and North Africa

Senator Jack Reed (D-RI)

U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) sat down recently with The Choices Program to talk about what’s happening in the Middle East and North Africa and what he thinks the U.S. response should be. This video is part of a free lesson for high school classrooms on the recent events in North Africa and the Middle East. Senator Reed’s video gives students a springboard to investigate the events and wrestle with some challenging questions.

Here are some of questions posed to students in the lesson.

  • What events is Senator Reed referring to when he says, “imposing democracy from outside is hard”?
  • Senator Reed states that supporting democracy “as it wells up from the streets” is the best approach. What does he mean by this?
  • How has the United States responded to the protests?
  • Do students think the United States should support democracy in other parts of the world? If so, what do students think is the best approach?
  • Despite priding itself on being an example of democracy, the United States has relied on and supported authoritarian regimes in the Middle East (for example in Egypt and Saudi Arabia) to combat Islamic extremism and provide a steady flow of affordable oil. By supporting democracy, does the United States run the risk of harming its own security and economic interests? 
  • Is there a conflict between the United States’ economic and security interests and its desire to support democracy? Does there have to be? 

This lesson is the third in a series on events in the region produced by the The Choices Program since the end of January.