International Relations Theories in the Gulf Region

276 views 5 pages ~ 1209 words
Get a Custom Essay Writer Just For You!

Experts in this subject field are ready to write an original essay following your instructions to the dot!

Hire a Writer

International Relations in the Gulf Region

International relations cannot be used to comprehend or interpret the Gulf region. Countries in the Middle East and around the Persian Gulf, such as Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, pay little attention to international relations norms that govern their interactions with other nations on the global stage. It was shocking to see the dramatic unfolding of events beginning in 2011, which showed the Arabic approach to dealing with tyrannical regimes (Fawcett, 2017). The Arab Spring appeared to be a manifestation of a "New Middle East" where new theories and approaches needed rebranding to fit the foreign relations state of these countries (Fawcett, 2017). This seeks to examine the suitability of foreign relations concepts in understanding the Gulf region.

Political Non-interference

Political non-interference in the affairs of foreign nations is a virtue gracefully demonstrated by the countries of the Gulf region. Apparently, the same is expected from them as they prefer to handle their issues independently without the effect of an outer hand (Fawcett, 2017). The Arab Spring, however, introduced a major stir in the region's stability, making it open doors to new possibilities, alliances, and common enemies (Legrenzi, 2015). The Syrian War seems to have defied all the laws and the ways of the land, as it has continued to torment the souls of many through an unending scuffle which attracts blood, selfishness, and death. As of June 2017, the Syrian war had claimed over 300,000 lives and converted 4 million more into refugees (Fawcett, 2017). It is a world-class crisis which cannot be solved through international relations, depicting the political quagmire choking the country and its allied neighbors.

Realism in the Gulf Region

Realism is one of the crucial paradigms of international relations. It is characterized by a spectrum of ideas based on principles about the determinants of a particular behavior towards one another. Scholars argue that it is an ultimate focus on power as the end result of a political struggle regardless of the process used to get there (Acharya, 2014). Nations rely on themselves in situations of anarchy and an unpredictable future. Such regimes are unreliable, hence the need to build sustainable bonds with the neighbors to secure power and goodwill, which can save them on a rainy day. Survival depends on power, which makes realists perceive as pessimists (Legrenzi, 2015). The practitioners of this theory of international relations tend to perceive affairs as they are, not as they are supposed to be.

Realism and the Gulf Region

Realism in the Gulf region seems like a good anchor to secure a regime since the Arab Spring, which saw the threat of political tranquility enjoyed in the Arab world (Acharya, 2014). It embraces a specific form of realism, which is anchored on fellow Arab economies that are dependent on oil and tourism (Fawcett, 2017). In addition to that, these countries have a tendency of shutting out foreign powers to limit political interference, which could influence the formation of policies that may not be welcome in this environment (Acharya, 2014). There are many benefits brought about by political realism to these oil masters. First, it secures their regimes. As the leaders unite, they owe each other favors, which make their bonds stronger, hence they watch each other's back. Secondly, it is essential in establishing a common market for their products. All the Persian Gulf countries are major oil exporters, where they make much of the country's income (Fawcett, 2017). In such an economy, it is essential to establish a common market where the commodity can be easily marketed, hence together they can control the oil market.

Thwarted International Relation Theories

International relations theories barely hold in the Gulf region. They are thwarted by the countries' strong stand against external infiltration and Western influence (Acharya, 2014). Saudi Arabia sets the way for the nations by showing contempt to the US on various issues including trade and military activities. Yemen and Syria have been war-torn and in need of humanitarian help at various times. The countries also import much of their food from Saudi Arabia. Despite this, the border is sometimes closed, leaving the citizens exposed to the dangers of hunger and war (Fawcett, 2017). This is Marxist, and the neighbors should be on the first line of help to the oppressed community. It is a luxurious market that needs to be tapped and embraced.

Liberalism in the Gulf Region

Liberalism, on the other hand, is practiced at a limited capacity, mainly to the residents who have lived and got used to the Islamic way of life in the country (Acharya, 2014). Although it cannot be compared to highly democratic nations such as the United States of America, Middle East countries are a bit liberal (Fawcett, 2017). The truth is that when Westerners look at them, all they say is blind conservatism, gender inequality, and violence supporting a religion that nurtures terrorism (Acharya, 2014). As said earlier, these countries prefer to keep their affairs private and internal to them, leaving the foreigners to figure out whatever they like. Although their foreign relations are significantly crooked and devalued, the principles apply significantly within their borders (Fawcett, 2017). This can be verified by examining the political cooperation and goodwill among the member countries. They seem to be united, dedicated to their course, and mutually understanding the needs of each other. For example, if one interferes with Iran, Saudi Arabia will be offended.

Internal Relations in the Gulf Region

Internal relations in the Gulf region are hence problematic, and the theories are not effective in the analysis of their political relationship to the other nations (Fawcett, 2017). Whereas there are friendly allies to some of these nations, most of the rest remain in the darkness, with only media being the mode by which they can communicate (Acharya, 2014). There are many cases of mistreatment of women on the streets, especially if they are not adherent to the Islamic ways of life, which is extreme conservatism. The affairs of the countries are better handled within, where strict ways of life in accordance with the Holy Quran must be obeyed. Conservatism can describe this political scenario effectively, but adjustments need to be made to address their foreign relations.


Conclusively, the theories of international relations cannot be used to interpret or understand the principles held by the countries of the Gulf Region due to their strict commitment to honoring religion, observed relations only among their neighbors, and keeping out foreigners. The Arab Uprising was a scary phenomenon to the existing political dynasties, which saw the removal of some governments as well as the destabilization of tranquility in the region. It tossed some countries like Syria into a war from which they are yet to recover. Regardless of their position, opinion, or political interests, it is essential for a nation to form foreign ties, as this is the basis of power and survival in political battles. This region needs to improve its international relations.


Acharya, A. (2014). Global International Relations (IR) and Regional Worlds A New Agenda for International Studies. International Studies Quarterly, 58(4), 647-659.

Fawcett, L. (2017). The Middle East in the international system: improving, understanding and breaking down the international relations/area studies divide.

Legrenzi, M. (2015). The GCC and the international relations of the Gulf: Diplomacy, security and economic coordination in the changing Middle East (Vol. 44). IB Tauris.

May 02, 2023

Government World


Politics Middle East

Number of pages


Number of words




Writer #



Expertise Iraq
Verified writer

Participating in gun control for my college class, I worked with Lennon70 who took just a quick look at the replies and helped me participate in the most efficient way. A great writer who is a lot of fun!

Hire Writer

This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Eliminate the stress of Research and Writing!

Hire one of our experts to create a completely original paper even in 3 hours!

Hire a Pro

Similar Categories