TRENDS Study Explores Motives and Effects of China-Gulf Rapprochement


TRENDS Research and Advisory released a new study which confirmed that the Arab Gulf countries intend to find a balanced strategic relationship through which they preserve their development gains. The Arab Gulf states want to pair with the advanced countries to secure the welfare of their peoples and achieve sustainable development, global stability and security. The Gulf countries are pursuing policies of understanding and coordination with all major and regional powers, without the exclusion of any major player.

The study, entitled "Motives and Effects of China-Gulf Rapprochement," showed that Gulf countries are not looking for a bilateral relationship with one of the great powers, whether the United States or China, at the expense of another. They are not considering China as an alternative to the United States. The study stressed that the Gulf-US relations are much deeper and transcend the prerogatives of security and arms supply. Indeed, the Gulf countries do not wish that a particular country dominates the region, or become the only international hegemony therein.

The study was conducted by Mohammed Khalfan Al-Sawafi, researcher in International Relations. He indicated that the US was somehow slow in grasping the significance of Gulf foreign policy. The US did not realize that the Arab Gulf countries have developed their determinants and tenets of their own foreign policies, based on their national interests. These policies are not in conflict with the interests of any other parties, but may be compatible with them. They tend to serve the stability, peace and security of the region and beyond. The study explained that this is the reason why the Gulf countries don not intend to engage themselves in conflicts or thorny problems that may yield adverse results. At most, when crises reach their peak, the Gulf states adopt the principle of neutrality. This approach has gained the Gulf countries international respect and appreciation.

The study reviewed the motives of the Gulf countries towards enhancing relations with China. They also consider the implications of this new approach for the future of this relationship with their traditional ally, the United States of America.

The study stressed that the Gulf states want to establish balanced relations with major powers. However, they do not seek to trigger tensions, especially that there is a state of intense competition for the region. There is a clear Chinese desire to play proactive roles in the region, albeit using tactics of quiet diplomacy. There is no denial of the depth of strategic relationship between the Gulf states and the United States. The two sides have maintained this relationship in the context of wide and diverse interests.

The study indicated that the ability of Gulf states to deal with both the United States and China is a significant political and strategic advantage.

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