The International Politics of the Middle East

By Raymond Hinnebusch | Go to book overview

8
The Middle East in a decade of globalisation (1991—2001)

While for much of the world globalisation is associated with growing interdependence and the spread of 'zones of peace', in the Middle East the decade of globalisation was ushered in by war, was marked by intrusive US hegemony, renewed economic dependency on the core and continuing insecurity, and ended with yet another round of war in 2001.

In the early 1990s, prospects looked different to some observers: the end of the Cold War, the second Gulf War, and the advance of economic globalisation seemed to provide a unique opportunity to incorporate the area into a 'New World Order' in which the struggle for power would be superseded by the features of the pluralist model — complex interdependence, democratic peace. The defeat and discrediting of Iraq's militaristic Arab nationalism, the beginnings of the Arab—Israeli peace negotiations, and a Washington-imposed Pax Americana were to facilitate creation of the co-operative security arrangements needed to tame the power struggle. The consequent dilution of insecurity, together with the exhaustion of economies from arms races, would allow economic development to push military ambitions off state foreign policy agendas. Access to the global market and investment would both require and encourage policies of peace (Solingen 1998) which, in turn, would foster regional economic interdependence and co-operation in resolving common problems such as water scarcity. This would create vested interests in peace, while public opinion, exhausted by war and acquiring enhanced weight from democratisation, would restrain state leaders. In consequence, the regional system would move, in Korany's words, 'from warfare to welfare'. The final displacement of Pan-Arabism by the doctrine of state sovereignty would allow 'normal' state-to-state

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