The Diplomacy of the Middle East: The International Relations of Regional and outside Powers

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The Diplomacy of the Middle East: The International Relations of Regional and Outside Powers, ed. by L. Carl Brown. New York: LB. Tauris Publishers, 2001. xxix + 308 pages. Bibl. essay to p. 325. Index to p. 365. $59.50.

Reviewed by Duncan L. Clarke

L. Carl Brown gathered 14 prominent historians, political scientists, and policy practitioners to do two things: (1) examine the assumptions guiding the foreign policies of the states of the Middle East and of four non-regional states active in Middle East diplomacy, and, (2) discern "underlying patterns of international relations in the Middle East" (p. ix). Brown acknowledges in his Conclusion that the latter objective was not fully realized (p. 304), but the first certainly was. Given the ambitious scope of the project, the contributors, with only two exceptions, did a marvelous job of summarizing the foreign policy "essences" of the various states.

The chapters on Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Turkey by, respectively, C. Ernest Dawn, Phebe Marr, Shaul Bakhash, and George Harris, are all examples of solid, if highly condensed, scholarship. Laurie Brand's excellent treatment of Jordanian foreign policy is particularly effective because of her convincing thesis that economic (especially budgetary) factors have been principal sources (not just means) of Jordan's foreign policy. 1. William Zartman's brief, yet deeply informed and beautifully written, chapter on Morocco's foreign policy is a delight to read, while Ambassador Hermann Frederick Eilts reminds readers of what specialists have long known - but the informed general public has only recently come to understand: that "the Saudi-U.S. tie is at best ambivalent [and] Saudi leaders wish to keep it that way" (p. 239). Michael Doran opens his chapter on Egypt properly: "More than any other Arab country, Egypt conforms closely to the classic model of the nationstate" (p. 97). And Doran concludes his contribution with the observation that Egypt is a formidable regional power waiting for its time to come as it knows that "the American ascendancy, like the British before it will pass" (p. 118). Finally, Carl Brown provides an able summary of the foreign policies of Lebanon, Kuwait and the Gulf States, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Mauritania.

There are separate treatments of the foreign policies of France, Britain, Russia, and the United States. …