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This chapter describes the changing dynamics of regionalism and alliance-making in the Middle East, processes that are closely related to and reflect states' foreign and domestic policy choices. The Middle East is not a region without regionalism at the societal or interstate level. There have been multiple forces for cooperation, particularly in the Arab world, based upon common identity, interests and beliefs; multiple alliances that intersect the Arab and non-Arab world; and evidence of cooperation in both broader and narrower regional settings like the Gulf. Global as well as regional trends and influences also push the Middle East into new arenas of cooperation. However, outcomes are mixed: an array of factors including regime insecurity, local rivalries, and external influence inhibit attempts at regional cooperation. Events since the Arab Spring have presented opportunities but also further challenges for Arab regional institutions as new divides and regional alignments emerge.


Edward Best and Thomas Christiansen

This chapter examines the different regional arrangements that have emerged around the globe. It considers whether there has been a uniform process of regional cooperation and integration across all continents, the driving forces in the establishment of various forms of regional cooperation, and the extent to which cooperation at the regional level changes the nature of international politics. After clarifying the various concepts and definitions associated with regionalism, the chapter discusses relevant developments in the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Europe. In particular, it looks at regional arrangements in Eurasia and the post-Soviet states. It also explores the process of European integration as well as the similarities and the differences among the various regional arrangements, with particular emphasis on the unique circumstances that shaped the emergence of the European Union. There is an Opposing Opinions box that asks whether regional cooperation strengthens the state.