Talking to the Enemy: Track Two Diplomacy in the Middle East and South Asia

Talking to the Enemy: Track Two Diplomacy in the Middle East and South Asia

Talking to the Enemy: Track Two Diplomacy in the Middle East and South Asia

Talking to the Enemy: Track Two Diplomacy in the Middle East and South Asia

Synopsis

This monograph examines security-related track two diplomacy efforts in the Middle East and South Asia, including how such efforts have socialized participants into thinking about security in more cooperative terms, and whether the ideas generated in track two forums have been acknowledged at the societal level or influenced official policy. Kaye concludes with suggestions on how to improve future track two efforts.

Excerpt

This monograph originated with a Smith Richardson Foundation research grant to explore the question of how unofficial regional security dialogues affect security perceptions and policy in regions defined by conflict. Do such dialogues affect adversarial relationships and, if so, how? What are the limits and dangers of such dialogues? the growing importance of regional contexts and nonstate actors in addressing a multitude of conflicts has created a greater demand for unofficial track two security dialogues as a critical foreign policy tool. the appeal of unofficial dialogues is their ability to raise ideas and solutions that might not be possible in official circles, but that could over time influence official thinking and, ultimately, policy. What seems unthinkable today may, through unofficial contacts, become the norm tomorrow.

But such assumptions about the power of track two diplomacy have rarely been systematically assessed through empirical analysis. This work is an attempt to do so. Through an examination of regional security track two efforts in the Middle East and South Asia, this monograph considers the roles as well as the limits of such processes and offers ways in which project organizers and funders might assess various efforts. Such assessments can provide not only a better understanding of what these types of dialogues have or have not accomplished in the past, but also a framework for understanding and improving these efforts in the future. the findings and lessons of this work should apply not only to the Middle East and South Asia, but also to other regions struggling to resolve long-standing adversarial relationships.

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