f_0018633_15957 - Liberalism and the Collapse of the Oslo...

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The Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations Liberalism and the Collapse of the Oslo Peace Process in the Middle East by Jonathan Rynhold T he end of the Cold War signaled the triumph of liberal democracy and thus 'the end of history,' according to Fukuyama. 1 In Central and Eastern Europe, the iron curtain came down and was replaced by a peace grounded on liberal mechanisms for peace building: regional institutions, economic integration, democratization, mutual recognition of national rights, and the development of mutual trust. The end of the Cold War initiated the Middle East peace process with the 1991 Madrid Conference and the 1993 Oslo Accords signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Here, too, attempts were made to use liberal peace building mechanisms, albeit without democratization. When the Oslo process collapsed, many liberals argued that this was primarily due to an improper implementation of the liberal peace building model. Neo- conservatives argued that the failure of the Oslo process was inevitable, as the democratization of the Arab world is a precondition to a stable Arab-Israeli peace. 2 In contrast to both of these explanations, I argue that the Oslo process failed because the realist preconditions necessary for liberal peace building were absent. In the absence of key realist factors detailed below, liberal mechanisms were overburdened and consequently the Oslo process collapsed. This article begins by outlining realist and liberal approaches to war and peace. It then presents the liberal approach to the Oslo process and the liberal explanation for its collapse. Subsequently, the liberal explanation is critiqued and a realist explanation is provided. L IBERALISM ,R EALISM , AND P EACE The liberal school of international relations emphasizes the importance of absolute material gains in generating peace, and this emphasis leads to a prescription of free markets facilitated by open borders. Within this framework, trade is a more efficient means of extracting resources than military force, giving states fewer reasons to use force, thereby promoting peace. In addition, institutional and economic integration leads to interdependence, which discourages conflict by raising Jonathan Rynhold is a Senior Research Fellow at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA) and a senior lecturer in political science at Bar-Ilan University. 45
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RYNHOLD The Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations the opportunity cost of war in terms of lost trade and investment. Liberalism further posits that democratic states are unlikely to wage war against other democracies, a concept known as ‘democratic peace’ theory. As the theory states, democratic institutions require the approval of the public to go to war, yet the public will not support war lightly as it would bear most of the cost. Moreover, the public would be especially reluctant to go to war against other democracies, which are perceived as being more legitimate and less
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This note was uploaded on 02/01/2012 for the course INTERNATIO 101 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '09 term at Boise State.

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f_0018633_15957 - Liberalism and the Collapse of the Oslo...

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