Stephen Zunes


Dr. Stephen Zunes, Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco, discusses the Arab Spring as the culmination of decades of peaceful rebellion against tyrannical governments; why nonviolent protests are more inclusive and tougher to eradicate; why the Libyan revolution was not in the Arab Spring mold (more like a foreign intervention/regime change); how violent revolutions tend to breed more violence and result in authoritarian governments; how the Bush administration helped bring down Middle East/North African client dictators (without meaning to); and the status of Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Morocco and Algeria.

MP3 here. (28:44)

Dr. Stephen Zunes is a Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco, where he chairs the program in Middle Eastern Studies. A native of North Carolina, Professor Zunes received his PhD. from Cornell University, his M.A. from Temple University and his B.A. from Oberlin College. He has previously served on the faculty of Ithaca College, the University of Puget Sound, and Whitman College. He serves as a senior policy analyst for the Foreign Policy in Focus project of the Institute for Policy Studies, an associate editor of Peace Review, and chair of the academic advisory committee for the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict.

19 thoughts on “Stephen Zunes”

  1. What is Stephen Zunes, the well-paid chair of the academic advisory committee of Peter Ackerman’s International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, doing on, whose self-proclaimed “initial project was to fight against intervention in the Balkans”?
    As William I. Robinson, the author of the seminal critique of the democracy-manipulating establishment, Promoting Polyarchy: Globalization, US Intervention, and Hegemony, has written:
    That Ackerman is a part of the U.S. foreign policy elite and integral to the new modalities of intervention under the rubric of "democracy promotion," etc., is beyond question. There is nothing controversial about that and anyone who believes otherwise is clearly seriously misinformed or just ignorant.

    1. But, throughout the interview, in each of the nations he commented on, Dr. Zunes took the position that the U.S. Empire should take its money, phony democracy and troops “the hell out of there.” How do you explain the disparity?

      1. Good question. You’d have to ask Zunes to explain how his collaboration “with CANVAS in training Egyptian and Western Saharan activists” (see Mother Jones puff piece on professional revolutionary Srdja Popovic entitled “Fantasy Island: Democracy Edition”) was an example of the U.S. democracy-manipulating establishment “getting the hell out of the way.”

        1. Maidhc Ó Cathail
          “Zunes… his collaboration “with CANVAS in training Egyptian
          and Western Saharan activists” was an example of
          the U.S. democracy-manipulating establishment…”

          But, before people will expend valuable time checking out all your references, they first need an example of what he did wrong and why you think it was wrong.

          1. In “Regime Change, Inc.,” Franklin Foer wrote:

            “When some of State's desk officers don't want to create international incidents by advising activists on how to overthrow governments, they gently suggest visiting Ackerman, who has fewer qualms about lending a helping hand.”

            U.S. Department of State > Ackerman > Zunes > activists > regime change. Get it?


            Above is a perfect example of how impossible it is to know all the corruption done by our deceitful Empire builders in order to plunder by brutal imperialism.

            Still, a problem has three parts, the root cause, bloody effects and a solution. And as one can know all the corruption that goes on behind closed doors, while locked in total darkness as to the root cause, making it impossible to ever know the solution, surely a gigantic waste of time is it to repeat all the blood and guts that corporate media so loves to jam into our minds.


    A most enlightening interview of Dr. Stephen Zunes, a good update on hot spots in the Arab realm of things. His main premise being that non-violent protests greatly favor populist democracies, whereas, militant uprisings foster totalitarian governments.

    Very true, for violent confrontations are always won by the fastest thinkers, as ability to kill is the speed at which you rationalize a problem and take corrective action. Whereas, non-violent protests are invariably controlled by slow and careful thinkers, as ability to think through a moral and just society is the slowness at with you rationalize a problem and take no self-serving or unjust action.

    For this is the hope we live by, that the slow and careful peaceful, will someday outnumber the fast and furious forceful.

  3. Have you guys been sued by the producers of M.A.S.H over there in Pacifica-h?
    Mr Zunes Have you sued microsoft over the use of your name?
    Anyway, everything that don’t make sense, will do so if you understand that conflicts are there because the conflict is the objective.
    Saddam and Gaddafi are alive and well in California! Mubarak, what happened to him?
    Hey look over there, see how we shaft them there, while we shaft you over here. Ain’t that a hoot!


    Israel ruling elite — Egyptian generals — and the Muslim Brotherhood — they are all of the same High Society, the same Country Club-class and a blue blood rich nobility that often intermarry and so love to mutually gratify each other endlessly.

    For Western nations and their client states, to maximize wealth and stability for investments, the rich maintain a two class society where the 50% most aggressive and wealthy are allowed to hoard all the wealth, where the laboring class lower half endure an optimum 8% unemployment level and young laboring men are kept from rebellion by a minimum wage always and forever just above starvation.

    So, nothing will the Muslim Brotherhood change as they love things just the way they are. And so, keep your eye on the blood and guts being spilt in the main streets of Egypt, for it is a state-of-the-art class war that the lower half just might possibly win.

  5. In Tunisia and Egypt the western "democracies" were taken by surprise, clearly proven by the weeks long silence from Brussels and Washington. They were not prepared that the arab street would take action against the western backed puppet Ben Ali and Mubarak.
    But already in Lybia and the following uprising the hypocrite US did everything behind the curtains to prevent a democratic change in Bahrain and other proxies of its Empire in the Midlle East. From then on they took the chance to create additional chaos in Lybia and Syria by the usual rogue means of the CIA and its allies to launch war and regime change.
    Also in Egypt the violent crack down of demostrators agains the ongoing might of the military (the last remaining ally of the US there) is backed and equipped by the US-Gov which officially of course condemns the brutal oppression of the peoples uprising.
    Same dirty game as ever. But in the longterm the US-Empire will fail!

  6. Hi,
    I agree with Maidhe. I did not know much about Zunes(I remember a debate with Blankfort where he was putting up the usual Chomsky's line about Israel..But at least he has a brilliant mind, too bad that he is basically a "socialist/colonizer" Hashomer something ZIONIST.Zunes is just a bad copy and I did read something about his career according to his critics.Of course you can't really believe anything on the net-so I still have to know more about this whole "non violent training"thing. But it sounds pretty logical that the USA is into this kind of approach for a long time,in different ways.In Italy it is well known that (american paid) food was exchanged for votes during the first election after world war 2(to prevent the victory of the left).I guess that Horton may have a connection with Zunes by way of pacifica radio,So, you do need guests and different opinions, still if you want to keep this station "clean" you must be careful.To another comment:
    yes Zunes is against american imperialism, the point here is of the role of Ngos roaming the world.At the moment I live in southeast asia and I have seen with my own eyes the corrupting influence of Soros's money with the burmese dissidents.In India it's the Ford foundation sponsoring a lot of different groups.We do know that they have an agenda,and it is always easy to find clever/well educated locals attracted by western standard salaries.
    So beware of academics like Zunes.There are other guys that Horton invites often and I am pretty dubious of some.One in particular comes from an outfit that had some connection with the agent provocateur Larouche;but I have no solid evidence,so I am not naming him.It's a "journalist".
    I do like to listen to Horton, but I believe he should always keep in mind that some of his guests, expecially ex cia or something, may be playing some game.We do need to hear experts,but I think he should find a way to reduce the possibility that some of his guests may be more than what they pretend to be.

  7. US was militarily supporting Gaddafi as recently as last year. The US helped Gaddafi crushed the rebels during the peak of Iraq war (search weapon deals with Libya). Again, nothing surprising – very consistent history of double standards and hypocrisy. US also supported the great Mujahideen aka Taliban before they struck back at their own suppliers.

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