TFPD Transatlantic Foreign Policy Discourse (TFPD)  

  A Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik Project 

Working Groups

Past Working Groups 2002-08

  Post-Conflict Management
The Role of Islamists
State's Economic Role
Transatlantic Security
  China's Rise
Russia, USA and the EU
Military Transformation
Balkans Politics
EU Enlargement
States at Risk
Military Co-operability
Middle East
Meetings & Reports
Partners Organizations


Diverging Strategic Perspectives on the Middle East (2002/03)


arrow Meetings & Reports

Group Leader:
arrow Dr. Peter Rudolf

Key SWP Participant:
arrow Dr. Volker Perthes


arrow Publications

arrow Partner Organization:
American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS)

The Middle East is the most important region where diverging strategic perspectives between the United States and European countries cause transatlantic frictions. As the unending cycle of violence between Israelis and Palestinians continues, transatlantic tensions concerning the appropriate approach to this conflict have risen to the forefront. Diverging policies towards Iran have heightened once again with the U.S.-classification of Iran as a "terror state." But the largest possible transatlantic discord is embedded in conflicting attitudes towards Iraq. Washington justifies its aggression against Baghdad with the doctrine that preventing future wars entails acting against dictatorships that strive for weapons of mass destruction. While many in the United States seem to hope that a new regime in Iraq will positively alter the (geo)political situation in the Middle East, the successful outcome of a war with Iraq, especially a long and extended war, is far from certain.

Many in Europe fear that war against Iraq could cause massive regional destabilization, bearing unintended consequences for the transatlantic relationship. Even under most optimistic assumptions, the question of how to deal with a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq within a broader regional security structure will be challenging for transatlantic relations.

In the wake of September 11, another set of issues has become more salient, especially for the United States. These include the lack of democracy and the dismal human rights situation in Middle Eastern countries, as well as the deficit in American policy towards the region - namely the clear priority to nurture relations with friendly authoritarian regimes while neglecting democracy and human rights issues. How to pressure these countries to open themselves politically and, at the same time, avoid revolutions in the process will be a question of growing relevance for transatlantic policy coordination.


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