Monday, October 4, 2010

How much of MENA politics and economics are still determined by outside (western) powers, and what ways?

So I decided to write on this question from the previous sliderocket. The presentation from today needed a password for me to access, so I could'nt get the questions from the end of today's class.

To answer this question, I think almost all of MENA's economy and a majority of MENA's politics are influenced by western powers.

Lets start with ecomonics.

In my opinion much of the MENA is influenced by western actors. 8 of the 12 OPEC nations are located in the region. The reason why states like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Iran and others are so important is because of oil. Some may say this is not true, its because of their government or their history with Israel. So what about the central Asian countries with repressive regimes? Uzbekistan ring any bells? Or what about African dictatorships? Yes they are important, but not nearly focused on as much because they don't have (or much, except for a few African states) oil. Developed states in the west and the east need oil to continue growing. Thus, the producers are extremely important. Other MENA states that do not have oil are equally influenced by the west. For North African states, such as Morocco, trade with Europe and the west are the economy. Turkey's economy, which doesn't have oil, is anchored in the prosperity of the EU economy (from some of my research). With the oil states, the west drives the demand. Without the west, and oil, I believe the Middle Eastern region wouldn't be nearly as important as it is now.

For politics, the west has a lesser role than in economics, but is a sizable actor. Though MENA states have their own enemies and allies in the region, Europe (the EU) largely overshadows them. A stronger political and economic bloc than MENA states, the EU has much influence in soft power and acts as a strong pressure. In addition, the Israeli-Palestinian issue has been a symbol of west vs. east politics. Recently, some European states such as France have not always been staunchly pro-Israel (Jacques Chirac in 1996), but the issue continues to be a main problem in the Middle East. The overbearing cultural and economic power directly translates into political power in the MENA states. Subtly or not, Europe/American have influence within the region.

No comments:

Post a Comment