The transatlantic relationship and the Middle East

Converging interests, diverging praxis

Authored by: Andrea Dessì , Vassilis Ntousas

Routledge Handbook of EU–Middle East Relations

Print publication date:  December  2021
Online publication date:  December  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367330767
eBook ISBN: 9780429317873
Adobe ISBN:


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The Middle East has figured as a prominent theater of cooperation for transatlantic powers. The Cold War and Washington’s efforts to differentiate the United States (US) from the legacy of European colonialism while inheriting and redefining its architecture represented the general parameters of early US-European engagement in the region. While strategic interests overlapped and a “division of labour” gradually developed, geographic and historical contingencies, combined with the European Union’s (EU) unique institutional set-up, have also translated into divergences in tactics and strategy. This chapter will analyse instances of convergence and divergence between transatlantic powers during the Cold War, the 1990s and post-2003 period. By analysing past trends, the chapter will contextualise contemporary transatlantic disagreements on Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, emphasising how in the past disagreements were mostly tactical and about praxis, while today these are growing more strategic and therefore likely to be more encompassing and long-lasting.

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