Episode 4, May 2022: “Unhealthy Norms” | Sharan Grewal on U.S. Training for Foreign Militaries

POMED Nonresident Senior Fellow and College of William and Mary assistant professor Sharan Grewal discusses his new article, “Norm Diffusion through US Military Training in Tunisia” (Security Studies, 2022), with POMED’s Deputy Director for Research Amy Hawthorne.

Grewal’s article is a fascinating look at the connection between U.S. aid intended to “promote democracy” and deteriorating democratic norms here at home. He explains that in addition to promoting democratic values, U.S. foreign military training also inadvertently disseminates several “unhealthy” trends in civil-military relations that have emerged in the United States. For instance, Grewal argues that as the American military has grown more partisan and more politically powerful, U.S. training has unwittingly exported these trends to Tunisian service members. The consequences, Grewal says, may help explain the Tunisian military’s reaction to President Kaïs Saïed’s July 25, 2021 power grab, and they could influence how the military behaves in the fraught days ahead.


This interview is part of POMED’s video series, “Between the Lines,” featuring interviews with authors of recent publications that explore rights and governance issues across the Middle East and North Africa. To be notified of future episodes, subscribe to POMED’s YouTube channel.