GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Title of Paper:
Contours of Gulf security in ‘post-US’ world
Paper Proposal Text :
The ‘real’ long-term regional and geopolitical implications of the Arab uprisings are still uncertain, but it appears that contrary to international affairs affecting the Gulf region’s politics, the latter seems to be impacting global affairs. In the process, there is a reinforcement of the regional approach versus the international approach while dealing with the foreign and security policies of the Gulf and Middle East. This, in the context of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar, began about a decade ago when they fashioned proactive foreign policies.

Looking beyond the US-centric external security guarantees is a welcome shift since the US economic slowdown, misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq, and ambiguity on Syria and Iran have adversely impacted Washington\'s political and military influence, both regionally and globally. There is also evidence of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries thinking out of the box and exploring strategic engagement beyond the exclusive arrangement they have had with Washington for decades.

In this context, the proposed paper would delve into the Gulf security debate of the last decade, which has revolved around two views: less international involvement in the region’s affairs; and more internationalization of the region. Since the dominant view favours the second option, there have been calls to explore the idea of incorporating European and Asian countries who could act as security guarantors of any future Gulf security arrangement.

Thus, the paper would argue that the “omni-balancing” approach means that the GCC’s ties with the United States are no longer exclusive. It would point to the adoption of the ‘look East’ policy as a “real strategic shift” in the region’s foreign policy. Most importantly, it would explore how the post-Arab uprising developments would impact the omni-balancing drive, especially Gulf-Asia ties, and how this fits into any ‘new’ Gulf security architecture and an evolving “post-US world”, which is not necessarily an “anti-US world”.