Identity and Foreign Policy in the Middle East / Edition 1

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Most area specialists recognize the effects of national identity on the regional politics of the Middle East. However, those same specialists have proceeded as if identity matters little for understanding how nations determine their foreign policy in this volatile region. Shibley Telhami and Michael Barnett, together with experts on Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, and Syria, explore how the formation and transformation of national and state identities affect the foreign policy behavior of Middle Eastern states.

The contributors to this volume support theory with concrete narratives focusing on actual policy. The boundaries of group loyalty and membership in the Middle East have fluctuated greatly over the past century, and will continue to do so. Identity and Foreign Policy in the Middle East offers convincing evidence that the international policies of this area can be fully comprehended only if the power and scope of identity politics are taken into account.

Contributors: Michael Barnett, University of Wisconsin, Madison; Adeed Dawisha, University of Miami, Ohio; Ibrahim A. Karawan, University of Utah; Marc Lynch, Williams College; Suzanne Maloney, Brookings Institution; Yahya Sadowski, American University of Beirut; Stephen Saideman, Texas Tech; Shibley Telhami, University of Maryland, College Park

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This collection of essays deals with the effects of national identity on the regional politics of the Middle East. As the editors point out in the introduction to this volume, although many experts are aware of the importance of national identity, they have not taken it sufficiently into account in their attempts to understand how the foreign policies of Middle Eastern countries are shaped."—Middle East Journal, Vol. 56, No. 2, Spring 2002

"The one undoubted strength of this book is the quality of the country-specific contributions. All the authors are well-known specialists on Middle Eastern politics and provide complex and sensitive analyses of how the multiple identities of the peoples of the region interact with their rulers' domestic and foreign political objectives. . . . This is an engaged, well-focused, and stimulating set of contributions which achieves a coherence through focusing on the question of identity in Middle East politics."—Roland Dannreuther, University of Edinburgh. Contemporary Political Theory, 2002, Vol. 1

"By addressing the question of the role of identity in foreign policy-making, this volume places itself at the heart of one of the great IR debates at the moment, and this is by no means incidental."—Morton Valbjorn, Corporation and Conflict: Journal of the Nordic International Studies Association. 38:2

"Identity and Foreign Policy in the Middle East would make an excellent text in IR and Middle Eastern studies for either upper-division undergraduate or graduate courses. Its most obvious strength is that it problematizes both identity and national interest, challenging the usual givens assumed by traditional IR approaches."—Abdalla M. Battah, Minnesota State University, Mankato, Perspectives on Politics 1:2, June 2003

"This book marks an important and strong contribution to the scholarship of the Middle East. More geared for a scholarly audience with some background in the Middle East, it is written coherently enough to remain accessible to a motivated general reader. The analyses are deep, the theoretical context is consistent, and the questions addressed are relevant to both current affairs and recent history. Furthermore, the breadth of literature cited by authors is impressive, adding more weight to the conclusions they reach."—Scott Rothstein, Arab Studies Journal, Fall 2003/Spring 2004

"It will come as no surprise that 'identity matters' in the foreign policies of Middle Eastern states. The authors of Identity and Foreign Policy in the Middle East grapple with the difficult questions of just how identity matters: How are identities formed? How do they affect foreign policy? Which of the menu of possible identities becomes salient in a state's foreign policy during a particular period? Why do identities change over time? This book provides a new and more rigorous framework for reconsidering the old question of how ideas affect and are affected by foreign policy decisions in the Middle East."—F. Gregory Gause, III, University of Vermont

"Identity and Foreign Policy in the Middle East is a useful book, exploring the realist-constructive debate in the Middle East - a region which has been used in the past to illustrate both the power -political and ideational basis of international alignment and foreign policy behavior."—Rex Brynen, McGill University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801487453
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Meet the Author

Shibley Z. Telhami is the Anwar Sadat Professor of Peace and Development at the University of Maryland, College Park, and a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He is the author of The Stakes: America in the Middle East and coeditor of Identity and Foreign Policy in the Middle East, also from Cornell.

Michael Barnett is University Professor of International Affairs and Political Science at The George Washington University.

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