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Title: Strategies of stability : U.S. interventions in the Middle East (1953-2008) : a social complexity approach
Author: Seif El-Nasr, Sherif Abdel Rahman
ISNI:       0000 0004 2736 1690
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2012
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Middle East stability has been a key element of United States foreign policy since the end of World War II. The American national interest has generally been held to be at stake in three areas: securing the continuous flow of oil and gas to the West, facilitating the movement of U.S. naval and commercial traffic from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean via the Suez Canal, and (until 1991) containing Soviet influence in the region. All these interests necessitated a concern with overall stability in the region. However, US stability-driven policies towards the region (1953:2008) have achieved little success. American decision-makers irreversibly affected their immediate target (regional stability) in ways that that are inconsistent with their interests in the region. The Middle East system remains one of the most volatile regions of the world in spite of the repeated American intervention in its affairs. On the other hand, the problems that the United States faces in the region have not lessened as a result of its recurring intervention; indeed, they may well have grown worse. In this thesis I seek reasonable explanations for this phenomenon. Using a qualitative variant of complexity theory this dissertation introduces the concept of 'dynamic stability' as an alternative to the traditional version of the term which I referred to as 'simple stability'. A detailed historical account is employed to explore different strategies pursued by U.S. administrations to achieve stability in the Middle East. These strategies include: (1) the status quo strategy, (2) the hegemony strategy, and (3) the surrogate strategy. Different model(s) of intervention grew out of each strategy. Pre-emptive/post-hoc models of intervention grew out of status quo strategy. The regime change model of intervention grew out of hegemony strategy, and the pro-Israel model of intervention grew out of the surrogate strategy. The unifying factor among these strategies, I argue, is their lack of complexity; all these strategies include a simplistic perception of stability based on imposing some fixed arrangements on Middle East system through despotic allies; military invasion or regional surrogate, respectively, while ignoring or at best under-estimating the ability of sub-state actors to dynamically self-stabilize through bottom-up/emergent free local interactions
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available