The road to normalization: The importance of the United Arab Emirates' neoliberal foreign policy in the normalization with Israel: 2004–2020

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Abstract

The article discusses the question of why and how the normalization between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel took place and managed to evolve into a peace agreement. It offers an additional explanation to the neorealists' scholarly and commonly accepted argument: that it was only the behavior of the revisionist state of Iran that was the motive for signing the peace agreement between the two states. Furthermore, the article argues that the normalization of relations began in 2004 and could have materialized owing to the UAE's neoliberal foreign policy of focusing on soft power cooperation. It suggests the UAE's internal interests of status, stability, and empowerment, which were incorporated in the Vision 2021 plan, were translated into a foreign policy of international cooperation rather than one of military involvement and alliances. The UAE's long-term strategy reveals a dual neorealist and neoliberal foreign policy with a tendency toward the latter. The neoliberal foreign policy of soft power cooperation attracted the UAE to Israel and, through these shared interests, built trust and eventually led to normalization between the two states. The study covers three periods of the UAE's foreign policy strategy during the development of the normalization process. It begins with the tension between the neoliberal and neorealist strategies from 2004 to 2009, then looks at the increase in tensions between 2010 and 2018, and ends with the focus on the neoliberal foreign policy strategy in 2019–2020.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-78
Number of pages19
JournalDomes : digest of Middle East studies
Volume32
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023

Keywords

  • Arab–Israel relations
  • United Arab Emirates
  • neoliberalism
  • normalization
  • soft power

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