F. Gregory Gause III is a professor and chair of the political science department at the University of Vermont. In 2009 and 2010, he was the Kuwait Foundation visiting professor of international affairs at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. He was previously on the faculty of Columbia University between 1987 and 1995, and was also the fellow for Arab and Islamic studies at the Council on Foreign Relations from 1993 to 1994. His scholarly articles have appeared in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Security Studies, Middle East Journal, and other journals and edited volumes. His most recent book is The International Relations of the Persian Gulf. He has testified on Gulf issues before congressional committees and has made numerous appearances on television and radio commenting on Middle East issues. Gause received his PhD in political science from Harvard University and his BA summa cum laude from St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia. He also studied Arabic at the American University in Cairo and Middlebury College.
Saudi Arabia in the New Middle Eastby F. Gregory Gause III
The United States' relationship with Saudi Arabia has been one of the cornerstones of U.S. policy in the Middle East for decades. Despite their substantial differences in history, culture, and governance, the two countries have generally agreed on important political and economic issues and have often relied on each other to secure mutual aims. The 1990-91 Gulf War is… See more details below
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The United States' relationship with Saudi Arabia has been one of the cornerstones of U.S. policy in the Middle East for decades. Despite their substantial differences in history, culture, and governance, the two countries have generally agreed on important political and economic issues and have often relied on each other to secure mutual aims. The 1990-91 Gulf War is perhaps the most obvious example, but their ongoing cooperation on maintaining regional stability, moderating the global oil market, and pursuing terrorists should not be downplayed.
Yet for all the relationship's importance, it is increasingly imperiled by mistrust and misunderstanding. One major question is Saudi Arabia's stability. In this Council Special Report, sponsored by the Center for Preventive Action, F. Gregory Gause III first explores the foundations of Riyadh's present stability and potential sources of future unrest. It is difficult not to notice that Saudi Arabia avoided significant upheaval during the political uprisings that swept the Middle East in 2011, despite sharing many of the social and economic problems of Egypt, Yemen, and Libya. But unlike their counterparts in Cairo, Sanaa, and Tripoli, Riyadh's leadership was able to maintain order in large part by increasing public spending on housing and salaries, relying on loyal and well-equipped security forces, and utilizing its extensive patronage networks. The divisions within the political opposition also helped the government's cause.
There have been few relationships more important to the United States than that with Saudi Arabia, and it is vital that, as it enters a new phase, the expectations and priorities of both countries are clear. In Saudi Arabia in the New Middle East, Gause effectively assesses the challenges and opportunities facing Saudi Arabia and makes a compelling argument for a more modest, businesslike relationship between Washington and Riyadh that better reflects modern realities. As the United States begins reassessing its commitments in the Greater Middle East, this report offers a clear vision for a more limited—but perhaps more appropriate and sustainable—future partnership.
- Council on Foreign Relations
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