Statecraft in the Middle East: Foreign Policy, Domestic Politics and Security

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By: Imad Mansour

Publisher: I.B. Tauris

London and New York: I.B. Tauris, 2016. 282pp. $99.00, ISBN: 978-1784535803

Volume: 5 Issue: 8

August 2017

Review by:

Sanford R. Silverburg, Ph.D

Catawba College

Salisbury, NC

Political scientists, especially international relations and foreign policy specialists, are well aware of the theoretical approach of linkage politics, which for some reason is not mentioned in this work.  Introduced by James N. Rosenau[1] and followed soon thereafter by Joseph Frankel[2] the efforts of state decision makes toward the external environment is dependent to some degree on their respective domestic political structure and set of condition.

Government policies dealing with the external environment and domestic demands, must the author (an Assistant Professor in the Department of International Affairs at the University of Qatar) argues operate within an ideological and social context.  His theoretical foundation is a social narrative that is essentially political culture (another comparative political theoretical formula not mentioned though applicable), the place of the state in history and its place in the world.  Statecraft, as opposed to diplomacy, is understood to be a combination of local, regional, and even state-building processes. There is brought forth then a complex relationship between statehood, statecraft, and narratives. Bur iIt is the basic societal narrative that serves as a building block for statecraft.

In pursuit of the effort, Mansour selected six states in the Middle East, Muslim, Arab, Persian, and Jewish, hence a wide range with a temporal period of the latter part of the 20th through the early 21st century. Each of the countries selected for an empirical examination against the theoretical construct—Egypt, Israel, Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran—are treated to a perspicacious, but not necessarily balanced, review.

Credit must be given to the author to parlay a rich understanding of the political dynamics of such an array of Middle Eastern polities and providing a relatively extensive bibliography to further guide the reader. Despite the few deficiencies noted, this work should be considered a valued contribution to international relations theory and the comparative politics literature.

[1] James N. Rosenau ed. Linkage Politics. New York: Free Press, 1969.

[2] Joseph Frankel. Contemporary International Theory and the Behavior of States. New York: Oxford University Press, 1973.

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