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Beyond the Handshake: Multilateral Cooperation in the Arab-Israeli Peace Process, 1991-1996 Formato Kindle
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|Lunghezza: 319 pagine||Lingua: Inglese|
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The quotation cited exemplifies the American vision, as stated by former U.S. President George Bush at the Madrid Middle East Peace Process in 1991. This vision, one that voiced the need for peace and security in the Middle East, marked a turning point in the bilateral Arab-Israeli peace process. Not only did it legitimize the United States to interfere in the region, but it also provoked a new type of process, one that invited regional cooperation to aid in the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict. This process was known as multilateral cooperation, and it sought to establish a regional framework for Arab-Israeli peacemaking and to address region-wide issues of the present and of the future. In her book, Beyond the Handshake: Multilateral Cooperation in the Arab-Israeli Peace Process, Dalia Dassa Kaye addresses two central questions pertaining to the multilaterals. Why did such an unprecedented regional cooperation emerge? What forces can account for the varied level of successes of these multilaterals? In answering these questions, Kaye assesses the evolution of the multilateral process, as well as its success on a global level.
The Arab-Israeli conflict has been exclusively a bilateral process, that is, it has been contained between powers specifically involved in the conflict. However, its setbacks in recent years have forced the world to realize the need for a greater regional role in the process. Led by the United States (hence, the American vision), the world has realized that Israeli inclusion into the region is vital and necessary to the stability of the Middle East. Therefore, in order for this inclusion to occur, multilaterals must ensue, and a sense of regional cooperation must be established. Kaye recognizes the presence of multilateral cooperation pre-Madrid, however noting that lack of participation and cooperation made all efforts far from successful. "Before the Madrid and Oslo peace process, Arab-Israeli economic cooperation remained limited and largely theoretical..."(39). However, Kaye also states that pre-Madrid regional cooperation did lay the groundwork for these issues. The ideologies established before would in turn be partly responsible for the establishment of the multilaterals.
Kaye takes a mainly constructivist approach in explaining the evolution of the multilateral process. "The constructivist method can explain why such processes originate by showing that even if a powerful player is necessary to create new institutions, one must understand why the power holds particular interests that lead to this outcome..." (20). Therefore, the second central question of the book is brought to surface; What force or forces can account for the varied level of successes of the multilaterals? Kaye suggests that the powerful player responsible for the creation of this new type of process was not simply the United States. Instead, the multilateral peace track was founded and fostered by a small group of policy elites within Washington D.C. This group sought to establish an interactive, dynamic process in which the widest scope of regional participation would be involved. This was made possible due to the altered international and regional ideologies resulting after the Madrid and Moscow Conferences of 1991-2. In this constructivist view, this American policy elite sought to preserve peace and security in the Middle East by fostering the Arab acceptance of Israel. If cooperation were instilled in the region, the bilateral peace treaties would hopefully stand a better chance of being successful.
The unprecedented result of the multilaterals was a multitude of regional forums, all addressing issues pertaining to the Middle East. Kaye, in exemplifying the second part of her thesis, investigates the success of these multilaterals and regional forums that addressed issues pertaining to the Middle East. These issues included the question of regional security cooperation, economic cooperation, and water and environmental cooperation.
The establishment of the ACRS (Arms Control & Regional Security) served to facilitate the process of peace and security of the Middle East. It aimed to instill common understandings among regional participants about the nature and purpose of regional arms control. "While ACRS parties debated a variety of arms control and regional security measures, these debates did not always fall along the Arab-Israeli fault line, and thus contributed to one of the Americans' overall peace process purposes of normalizing Israel..." (101). However, because arms control and security encompass such a vast array of parties, one must take into account the complexities that would result from the amount of interests involved. Therefore, while the ACRS made considerable progress in terms of regional security cooperation, it was, in the end, a failure.
The multilaterals were far more successful in terms of economic and water & environmental cooperation. This was "because the regional parties were able to move beyond politicized aspects of the process and reach common understandings about the value of cooperation in this issue area..."(156). The main reason for such a strong consensus among the multilaterals is the shared connection between regional cooperation and the need for globalization. This common ideology has provided incentive for regional cooperation and has allowed for the success of economic cooperation in the Middle East. The water and environmental cooperation has proved to be the least controversial issue, and though regional commitment to the issue must be developed and strengthened, its progress and success is almost inevitable.
Kaye continuously notes that the progress of the multilaterals is not necessarily affected by the setbacks that have occurred in the bilateral Arab-Israeli peace process. While the success of regional cooperation in the Middle East is still questionable, the progress of such a process must be noted. In fact, Kaye argues that the question is not whether this cooperative process has been successful; rather the greater concern should lie with the evolution of the multilaterals. One must remember that regional cooperative processes such as these were unthinkable prior to the 1990s.
The book successfully addresses the two central questions brought forth by Kaye concerning the origin and cause of the multilaterals and its subsequent evolution. She is careful not confuse the reader with the different paths of the bilaterals and multilaterals and specifically discusses the regional cooperative process in the Middle East. Kaye successfully guides the reader through the evolution of the multilaterals in a crisp and organized manner. Her conclusion of its success is not biased; rather, she emphasizes the idea of multilateral cooperation as a process rather than an outcome. For this reason, her book is an exemplary piece of clear and concise writing.
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