The East Moves West: India, China, and Asia’s Growing Presence in the Middle East

In This Review

The East Moves West: India, China, and Asia's Growing Presence in the Middle East
By Geoffrey Kemp
Brookings Institution Press, 2010
300 pp. $29.95

Statesmen and scholars, in both the West and the Middle East, may be said to suffer from an “Eastern Question” mindset. They view Middle Eastern politics and diplomacy as restricted to players from the Middle East and the West. The East Moves West introduces important new actors, especially China and India, but also Pakistan, Japan, and South Korea. Their growing involvement in the Middle East is explained by the normal expansionism of rising powers and their search for energy security. Kemp has compiled a fact-filled handbook that sets out the economic, geographic, and strategic factors involved in these new developments. He measures not just the growing ties of these different Asian states with the Middle East but also their own complex rivalries (such as between India and China and India and Pakistan). Also included is a useful review of the major transnational projects planned or afoot, including pipelines and modernizing land and sea routes. Of the many lessons to be gleaned from this study, two stand out: China and the other Asian states largely stick to commerce and economic development in their Middle Eastern dealings, and the United States would be well advised to scale down its commitment to protecting the Indian Ocean sea lanes by getting the littoral Asian states more involved.

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