Edited by Raymond A. Hinnebusch and Anoushiravan Ehteshami
Lynne Rienner, 2002, 381 pp.
Identity and Foreign Policy in the Middle East
Edited by Shibley Telhami and Michael N. Barnett
Cornell University Press, 2002, 207 pp.
Which theoretical approach -- realism or identity-based politics -- better captures Middle Eastern diplomacy? A reading of these two books suggests that both theories are useful, but neither is definitive. Both books have separate chapters on the foreign policies of Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, and Syria. The former also treats Libya, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Turkey, and Yemen; the latter has a chapter on Jordan. Both have chapters setting out their organizing framework. Foreign Policies adopts a "modified form of the realist theory," whereas Identity and Foreign Policy probes the extent to which identity or collective self-images and norms determine foreign policies. Each book thus offers a cogent and accessible discussion of prevailing international relations theories as applied to the Middle East. At the same time, the foreign policy studies of individual countries in the two books are well done, and several are excellent.