tjir_v3n4f - POWER AND IDENTITY IN FLUX: AMERICAN FOREIGN...

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Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations Vol.3, No.4, Winter 2004 132 POWER AND IDENTITY IN FLUX: AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY TOWARD THE MIDDLE EAST Engin İ . Erdem The main purpose of this paper is to bring an eclectic approach to understand American foreign policy toward the Middle East. I have two constitutive variables for this purpose: power and identity. How do these two elements influence American policy toward the region, or in other words, how do and/or can power and identity help explain the formulation of America’s ‘national interests’ in the Middle East? This study does not take ‘national interest’ as an independent variable here, rather it is taken as dependent variable that is constituted by power and identity. On the other hand, power and identity are also in dynamic interaction with each other. It is especially clear when one talks about the use of American power in correspondence to America’s democratic and liberal identity. In this respect, legitimacy of the use of American force in the eyes of the rest of the world is also an important issue when one evaluates American foreign policy in the context of American identity. Finally, how can September 11 and its aftermath make an impact on American policy toward the Middle East in this framework? Does the United States weigh power considerations over identity concerns? Or specifically, how does the United States approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict as well as to democratization in the Middle East in the context of power and identity concerns? How can the U.S. follow policies in
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Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations Vol.3, No.4, Winter 2004 133 regard to these important issues in serving both American power and identity? These are the main questions, which the U.S. has faced after September 11. Though each question may require a separate paper itself, this paper aims at providing a general framework. The paper consists of two main parts. The first part is about history and theory. For this purpose, this section briefly examines primary interests at stake in the region for the U.S. It also deals with general patterns and peculiarities of the U.S. foreign policy toward the Middle East in the second half of the twenty-century. Besides, this part of the paper touches upon the existing theoretical approaches of international relations and foreign policy, which are relevant to the analysis of American policy toward the region. The second half of the paper, on the other hand, is about the current developments in U.S. policy. In this respect, September 11 and its consequences play the most important role. The campaign against al-Quida, the Iraq issue, the heightened tension in the Palestinian- Israeli conflict, and the rampant anti-Americanism in the Middle East are the major developments in respect to the U.S. policy toward the region. This section makes an
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This note was uploaded on 02/01/2012 for the course BIOL 227 taught by Professor Koob during the Fall '11 term at Boise State.

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tjir_v3n4f - POWER AND IDENTITY IN FLUX: AMERICAN FOREIGN...

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