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Capsule Review

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

In This Review

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

Diplomacy in the Middle East: The International Relations of Regional and Outside Powers
Edited by L. Carl Brown
Palgrave, 2001, 365 pp. $59.50 Purchase

The recent focus on Arab-Israeli relations has helped foster the belief that Middle East diplomacy can be reduced to that single dimension. It cannot. As this useful volume of essays argues, the foreign policies of Middle Eastern states are guided by various and complex motivations. These factors owe as much to history, geography, domestic factors, regional alliances, or Western influence as they do to the conflict with Israel. The imperatives of checking rival ambitions, maximizing economic opportunities, and seeking to build alliances have constantly shaped the regional landscape. The book thereby shows the breadth of this "international relations sub-system," in which Arab countries -- as well as Iran, Turkey, and Israel -- must deal with one another. It treats the foreign policy of all Middle Eastern states in addition to the four outside states that have played key roles in shaping the region: the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and the United States. In short, it should revive interest in the underlying motivations of regional actors at a time when international events may lead to significant realignments among Syria, Iran, Iraq, and the Palestinians.

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