The Challenge of Restructuring: Syrian Foreign Policy

Bahgat Korany and Ali E. Hillal Dessouki

in The Foreign Policies of Arab States

Published by American University in Cairo Press

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9789774163609
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9781617970375 | DOI:
The Challenge of Restructuring: Syrian Foreign Policy

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This chapter emphasizes the interplay between three conjunctural structures: the state, the regional setting, and the international system. Structuralism perceives international relations as the sum of systematic interactions within and around the main behavioral unit in international relations, that is, the state. The discussion holds that Syrian foreign policy is currently marked by considerable rigidity and that it is thus incapable of responding to the rapid and far-reaching transformation in its external environment with comprehensive restructuring comparable to other Arab states. There are three possible explanations for this rigidity in Syria's international behavior. One relates to the cognitive factors influencing the regime; another attributes the apparent inflexibility to a wait-and-see policy; and the third explanation argues that Syria's foreign policy stagnation is propelled by a domestic crisis of legitimacy.

Keywords: Syria; structuralism; Arab states; foreign policy stagnation; sectarianism

Chapter.  13271 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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