Dialogues in Arab Politics by Michael Barnett

By Michael Barnett

For many years, Arab states and societies were excited by an ongoing clash over the targets and norms of Arabism. during this finished research, Michael Barnett explores the relationships among Arab id, the that means of Arabism, and wanted nearby order within the heart East from 1920 to the current, targeting Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia. Barnett examines the nation process in 4 precise time frames: the mandate interval to the institution of the League of Arab States in 1945; 1945 during the Baghdad Pact of 1955; the Suez battle during the 1967 battle; and 1967 throughout the Gulf warfare. inside of every one of those time frames, the Arab states' courting to unification, the West, and war of words with Zionism are addressed. Does Arab cohesion depend upon with the exception of Western impacts? Can an Arab nation be right away Islamic and democratic? Why cannot the Arab states agree on a standard executive? Barnett argues that the Arab states' symbolic and strategic interactions have been chargeable for the adjustments within the norms of Arabism, and eventually, the fragamentation that at the moment defines the quarter.

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Sociologically minded students of strategic interaction provide an alternative understanding of a game: a “normative structure” that is both external and internal to each player. 2 The game is external to the players because they tend to treat the social situation as a constraint on their ability to achieve their goals; thus the game encourages them to act strategically. But the game also is internal to the players because the normative structure establishes the culturally and historically specific terms in which actors think and relate and thus is a source of the players’ collective beliefs and strategies.

Not only does such maneuvering reveal that society has a normative character but a convincing performance requires more than talk—it requires action that is consistent with these expectations. Therefore actors will abide by social norms for a host of reasons—including self-interest and self-image—but in either case their desire to be viewed as moral creatures, to be operating according to society’s standards, will shape their behavior. 24 This understanding of society—that actors stand distant from their social roles and can manipulate them for ulterior purposes, though for reasons of self-interest and self-image are prone to act according to society’s normative expectations—is a cornerstone of my approach to Arab politics and provides theoretical leverage in regard to how Arab states are likely to handle and conduct themselves on the public stage.

Among the various reasons Egypt coveted this role was that it could exploit this status for its other objectives. During the 1950s Egypt intentionally played up its role in Arab politics to increase its bargaining leverage during its negotiations with Britain regarding the Suez Canal. During the cold war Egypt promoted itself as the leader of the Arab world as a way of generating greater military and economic assistance from the superpowers. Syrian leaders promoted Syria as a rival to Egypt’s leadership position, in part because they recognized that such a position could generate substantial military assistance from the Soviet Union, economic assistance from Saudi Arabia, and prestige from Syrian society.

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