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Publication date: 29 November 2018

Fawaz Al-Qahtani

This paper aims to scrutinize and analyze the continuity and change in US foreign policy toward the Gulf region, with a comparison between the George W. Bush and Barack…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to scrutinize and analyze the continuity and change in US foreign policy toward the Gulf region, with a comparison between the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations. Also, it explores the nature of the changes in US foreign policy toward the Gulf region to explain the factors that lead to change and when this change occurs. Policymakers were one of the most important factors that led to the occurrence of change in US policy. Therefore, the study also focuses on decision-makers as an engine of change in foreign policy. In this vein, the study seeks to answer the following question: what is the extent of continuity and change in US foreign policy toward the Gulf region under both Bush and Obama administrations?

Design/methodology/approach

The study seeks to answer its research question by using the rational choice approach. This approach explains that foreign policy does not change because of change of leadership. Therefore, this approach is suitable to study the research question.

Findings

The study reached several points of results, the most important of which are as follows: there is continuity within US foreign policy toward the Gulf countries under the two Bush and Obama administrations. Despite the difference of mechanisms of implementing this foreign policy under both administrations, the objectives of the US foreign policy are still constant and continuous. For example, although the events of September led to the occurrence of tensions between the USA and the Gulf region, the repercussions of the events of September were ostensible where the effects were confined to a change in tactical objectives. Also, successive American administrations have recognized the USA’s enduring and salient interests in the Gulf region.

Research limitations/implications

The region is important as a source of US energy supplies as a strategic military base of operations and also as a site of US foreign policy influence through relationship with individual nations such as Saudi Arabia and the smaller states of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Practical implications

This paper adds to the existing literature which charts the effects of US foreign policy on the Gulf region.

Details

Review of Economics and Political Science, vol. 4 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2631-3561

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