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The Contemporary in Middle East - Essay Example

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The Contemporary Middle East The Middle East is an important geopolitical region. This is fundamentally due to two important reasons. The first is that its geographical location is sandwiched between three continents, which make it the crossroad and transit points for the interaction of the two spheres…
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The Contemporary in Middle East
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"The Contemporary in Middle East"

Background There is no specific or standard definition that outlines the coverage and the physical boundaries to the Middle East. But one of the most comprehensive was offered by George Unzhoushric, who said that it “encompasses all those countries of Asia situated south of the [then] Soviet Union and west of Pakistan and Egypt in Africa” (cited in Chaurasia, 2005, p. 1). Throughout all history, many people have set foot in this region – tribes, merchants, hordes of armies, pilgrims, scholars, and so many others. Its location brought so many nations together. It brought the Europeans, Africans, people from the Far East as it connected the Mediterranean world to that of the Far East. In the earliest human attempts to settle, civilize, then interact through cooperation, trade or war, the Middle East became the natural setting for these developments. Strategic Location in Modern World The contemporary world is not very different in terms of the degree of significance attributed to the region on account of its strategic location. If one removes the oil resource from the equation, the Middle East will still remain an important variable in the foreign security, economic and political interests of countries such as the United States and other global powers. Its geographical features are pivotal in achieving successes in each of these policy areas. According to Thralls (1958), the mountains, plains and rivers of the Middle East form the portico from which the front, side, and back doors to Europe, Asia and Africa are opened (p. 14). The construction of the Suez Canal in Egypt, further cemented its role as a transshipment nexus. If it will be closed, then ships will have to be rerouted and would round the Cape of Good Hope south of Africa, which could result in longer travel time and more expensive enterprise. Airplanes cannot pass through Middle East without permission from its states. For countries that have global interests, hence, the geographical location of the region still has its strategic utility. Once oil is factored into the equation the importance is magnified several times, making the region crucial in international commerce and overall global economic well-being. In the area of security, the region’s proximity to Europe, Central Asia, Africa and Asia makes it a cause for concern for each of the states and regions next to its borders. Geographic mobility is common as people could travel back and forth easily. There is a widespread perception that people who cross borders daily, bring with them violence, narcotics, and ideas about politics and society, among others (Pollack et al., 2011, p. 280). This has been used by many countries as a pretext for invasion or intervention, armed with the argument that the region have or could easily infect other countries. Intervention Global powers such as the United States are always quick to invade the Middle East when trouble or crises erupt. For instance, there is the issue of nuclear proliferation. Iran has been in constant threat of military action because of its alleged nuclear weapons development. But this is not always the case elsewhere. With North Korea, for example, the United States has been more lenient (at least in comparison with how Iran is being treated by its policy networks) and more engaging in diplomatically preventing the North Korean enrichment objectives. This approach was discussed in-depth by Noam Chomsky in 2007 in an effort Read More
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