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You searched for: Content Type Journal Article Remove constraint Content Type: Journal Article Publishing Institution School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University Remove constraint Publishing Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University Political Geography Middle East Remove constraint Political Geography: Middle East Topic Foreign Policy Remove constraint Topic: Foreign Policy
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  • Author: Steve A. Yetiv
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: United States foreign policy in the Middle East over the last few decades has been controversial and checkered, and Washington has certainly flexed its muscles in the region. However, the question arises as to how aggressive America has been with regard to oil in the region. I distinguish between two perspectives in how America is viewed, which we can simply call the offensive and defensive perspectives, recognizing that there is a continuum of views. From the offensive perspective, America is viewed as having one or more of these goals: steal or own Middle East oil; control Middle East oil in order to undermine Muslims; dominate Middle East oil to advance global hegemony; or exercise “puppet” control over oil producers like Saudi Arabia to coerce them into charging far lower oil prices than markets would warrant.1 By contrast, from the defensive perspective, America chiefly aims to prevent others from threatening oil supplies in a manner that would spike global oil prices and possibly cause a recession or depression. Muslim opinion polls have revealed that oil issues are a broader source of tension in relations between elements of the Muslim world and the West. The U.S. role in oil-related issues feeds into historical, political, and religious perspectives of an imperialist and power-hungry America. In fact, a not uncommon view in the Middle East is that America seeks to exploit, even steal the region’s oil resources, a viewpoint much in line with the offensive perspective described above. I argue that the history of America’s role in the region suggests that this is largely a misconception, and that this misconception is not immaterial. It seriously raises the cost of the use of oil and of American regional intervention. This misconception not only stokes terrorism and anti-Americanism, but also complicates America’s relations with Middle Eastern countries, affects its image among Muslims, and hurts its global leverage insofar as such views become internationally prominent. Indeed, it is almost a maxim in many capitals in the Middle East that close cooperation with Washington carries a domestic political cost. Recall, for example, that the Saudis were initially reluctant to host American forces after Iraq invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990, even though they felt seriously threatened by Saddam Hussein.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Energy Policy, Oil, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, North America, Persian Gulf
  • Author: Elihugh M. Abner
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: This article points out the cataclysmic power shift that would take place in the event of Saudi Arabia’s descent into political turmoil, and briefly covers some of the catalysts that could bring about such an event. Overall, the oppressive policies towards the Shia minority carried out by the Sunni-dominated Saudi monarchy are detrimental to the country’s national security. The religious disparities in the country have given the monarchy’s enemies—primarily Iran and Russia—a weakness to exploit. This article does not give evidence of any clandestine operations taking place within the Kingdom; however, it gives evidence that Iran and Russia have much to gain and virtually nothing to lose if the country was to spiral into violence like so many others in the region.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, National Security, Fragile/Failed State, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Sama Habib
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: As a result of the 70-year conflict between Israel and Palestine, the United States should reconsider its support for a two-state solution and instead pivot to a one-state solution. Policymakers have assumed that deep hatreds can only be settled through separation. However, this policy has caused a stalemate and does not take into account fluctuating developments in the region. A more adaptive strategy is necessary. Using theories of ripeness and conflict mediation, this bold flip in policy can pave the path towards lasting peace. Exercising the instability created from Syria’s civil war, the United States. can ripen the Israel-Palestine conflict by exposing the mutual security benefits gained from uniting against a common enemy: ISIS. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria offers the parties a unique opportunity for peace as a rallying cause. As a close ally of Israel, the United States is in the ideal position to lead mediations centering around talks of permanent ceasefires, economic integration, and eventually political power sharing of a unified, binational state. In conjunction with Qatar acting as the Arab broker for Palestine, the United States should leverage its power to get the parties to the table in order to create the framework for a pocket of peace in an ever-rickety Middle East.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Regional Cooperation, Political Power Sharing, State Building
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Thomas J.R. Kent
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: A typical outsider's concept of Russian foreign policy might envisage Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin seated comfortably in the Kremlin, deciding what they want to accomplish, then skillfully selecting from an array of policy tools readily at their command: the military and security services, Gazprom's collections department, state-controlled media (i.e. drivers of public opinion), and state businesses ready to ship arms and build nuclear power plants wherever needed.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Middle East