International Relations: Theory and Practice in the Case of Oman By Course Institution Date Abstract In order to fully understand and interpret Oman’s approach to foreign policy and thus international relations it is important to understand theory and practice relative to international relations…
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Oman is a unique case study because unlike other countries in the Middle East which are directed by ideological leanings and immediate benefits, the Sultanate of Oman has been driven by its own particular agenda. The Sultanate of Oman takes the position that peaceful negotiation is important for achieving long-term gains for preserving prosperity and security for Oman. This research study determines that Oman has made significant progress in foreign policy and international relations since 1970 and thus concludes that Oman’s approach to foreign policy is more rational and conducive to long-term success in international relations. Contents Chapter Five 38 Conclusions and Recommendations 38 I.Introduction 38 II.Summary of Findings 39 III.Recommendations 40 IV.Summary and Conclusion 41 Chapter One Introduction to the Study I. Introduction and Background Foreign policy analyses provide a conceptual framework for understanding international relations theory (Hudson, 2005). In this regard, foreign policy analyses are defined by actors as agents and thus form the basis for everything that functions to connect or separate nations. At the heart of these national connections and disconnections are human beings who make decisions either in groups or alone (Hudson, 2005). Thus actor specific theory is important for understanding foreign policy and thus international theory and practice as it relates to Oman. Since the end of the Cold War, it has become increasingly obvious that actor specific theory provides the best method of understanding international relations. It has become clear that international relations are driven by human beings as agents of cross-state relations and as such, understanding international relations is a complex exercise and not capable of simplification (Hudson & Vore, 1995). Thus actor-specific theory which seeks to understand the conduct of particular actors in particular circumstances provides a robust explanation for understanding Oman’s foreign policy agenda as a subset of international relations (Smith, Hadfield & Dunne, 2008). Situated at the Gulf’s entrance and with control of the Strait of Hormuz which represents a significant oil transport route, and forming a part of the Middle East and the Gulf region, Oman’s geopolitical sphere makes it an important study in terms of foreign policy analysis and thus international relations theory and practice. Oman’s Ibadhi religion, unremarkable oil resources and its geopolitical location separates Oman from the remainder of its neighbours in the Arabian Peninsula (Jones, 2007). As this research study will demonstrate, Oman is also distinguished from its neighbours in terms of foreign policy and international relations generally. In order to analyse and understand Oman’s foreign policy in the wider field of international relations theory and practice, Hudson’s (2005; 1993) actor specific theory will be used. In order to provide a conceptual framework for understanding Oman’s actor specific motivations, Nonneman’s (2005) conceptualization of the determinants of foreign policy will be used. In other words, while analysing Oman’s actor specific foreign policy, three conceptual models will be used: the national conditions, regional conditions and the international conditions interacting to inform actor specific decisions and behaviour.
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