The Middle East at a Time of Negative Certainty

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2020-64-6-94-103

I. Zvyagelskaya (,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation;
I. Svistunova (,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation;
N. Surkov (,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation

Abstract. The article deals with political, social and economic trends in the Middle East, with a special emphasis on the issue of uncertainty. This uncertainty which is not new for the international relations has been a permanent feature of the region for decades. Certain regional trends tend to acquire a global dimension. The traditional domination of a foreign policy agenda over domestic one in the Middle East countries can be easily discerned in the global powers’ policies nowadays. A number of global trends either do not work in the Middle East, or turn into their opposite. Thus, the regionalism does not manifest itself in enhanced cooperation or integration. Paradoxically, the integrity of the region is accentuated by conflicts; the latter are getting easily and quickly internationalized with regional states and non-state actors becoming active players and beneficiaries. The revival of ideology is another example of regional trends that can contradict or precede global developments. While the role of ideologies has been downgrading at the global level, the issues of civilizational and political choice have been in the center of public discourse in the Middle East since the Arab Spring. A global renaissance of ideology inspired by the world crisis cannot be ruled out. Political developments in the Middle East are currently even less predictable than they were in the past. Regional states are facing traditional economic challenges, such as low growth rates, high external debt, budget deficits and a single-commodity export dependence, and at the same time new systemic factors, e.g. global warming and increasing water scarcity, along with such “black swans” as coronavirus and energy market meltdown. Currently, the problems that were prevalent mostly in the Middle East are spreading all over the world shaping global trends. Elements of de-regionalization, deepening inter-state rivalries, conflicts, poor governance, protests that have been characteristic for the Middle East scene can be found all over the world which is now also suffering from the growing uncertainty.

Keywords: Middle East, uncertainty, global and regional trends, regional actors, rivalry, new threats and challenges, socio-economic situation


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For citation:
Zvyagelskaya I., Svistunova I., Surkov N. The Middle East at a Time of Negative Certainty . World Eonomy and International Relations, 2020, vol. 64, no. 6, pp. 94-103.

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