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US Foreign Policy in the Middle East: The Case for Continuity

In US Foreign Policy in the Middle East: The Case of Continuity, Bledar Prifti makes a case for the recurring pattern of offshore balancing as the preferred U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. In order to support this central argument, the author discusses the five American foreign policy doctrines: the Truman Doctrine, the Eisenhower Doctrine, the Nixon Doctrine, the Carter Doctrine, and the Reagan Doctrine

In US Foreign Policy in the Middle East: The Case of Continuity, Bledar Prifti makes a case for the recurring pattern of offshore balancing as the preferred U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. In order to support this central argument, the author discusses the five American foreign policy doctrines: the Truman Doctrine, the Eisenhower Doctrine, the Nixon Doctrine, the Carter Doctrine, and the Reagan Doctrine (pp. 10, 61). Historical references to the statements of U.S. Presidents are mentioned to emphasize the continuity of the U.S. offshore balancing policy in the Middle East.

While discussing the main impetus of American foreign policy, Prifti asserts that the U.S. seeks to prevent any other great power from becoming a potential regional hegemon, since such an occurrence could eventually pose a threat to the U.S. Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan are cited as the main examples of U.S. insecurity (p. 11). The problem with this line of argument, however, is that it justifies American intervention in states on the basis of pre-emption. The U.S. dominance over the flow of oil in the Middle East and the safeguarding of its alliance with Israel are secondary U.S. foreign policy objectives in the Middle East (pp. 14, 15).

In Prifti’s view, American foreign policy concerns itself with preserving the contemporary power structure. In other words, maintaining America’s position in the international power hierarchy is one of the U.S.’ imperative objectives. This objective is driven by the U.S.’ geostrategic position and military capability (p. 11). For the author, the uncertain nature of the international system augments the significance of status-quo power such as the U.S.’ as a stabilizing factor. Speaking of the Russian and Chinese potential to challenge U.S. power, the precarious relations between the two emerging powers facilitates U.S. status in the international arena. In other words, challenger powers prefer bypassing rather tha

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