Building Regional Security in the Middle East: International, Regional and Domestic Influences

By Zeev Maoz; Emily B.Landau et al. | Go to book overview

5

Regional Security and the Levels of Analysis Problem

STEVEN L.SPIEGEL

After the war in Iraq and more than two years of violence that has accompanied the second Intifada, it may seem inappropriate, if not naive, to discuss regional security issues in the Middle East. However, the threats of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), terrorism, social and economic decline at a time of increasing regional tension demonstrates the urgency with which these problems must be dealt. Using the level of analysis framework, this contribution will explore the issues involved in creating a regional security regime to mitigate these dangers.

The levels of analysis allow us to identify causal factors of international politics. This approach disaggregates a state's foreign policy into three levels, which include the systemic level (the interaction between states), the domestic level (including both societal and bureaucratic factors within countries), and the individual level (leaders). After identifying the forces that affect foreign policy at each level, we shall conclude that the best solution for regional security in the Middle East must combine all three levels.

Therefore, since they both complement each other and cancel each other out, we conclude that the best way to promote regional security in these difficult times is to promote Track II, unofficial, informal contacts and negotiations. We will reach this conclusion by reviewing the levels of analysis, suggesting their implications for current Middle East security, and then through conceptual and instrumental means recommend ways of developing innovative methods for developing more stable regional relations.

The outline of the essay is as follows: (1) the level of analysis question and regional security regimes; (2) the challenges of the three levels; (3) countering the challenges by conceptual and instrumental means; (4)

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