This study presents the strategic hedging framework as a way to trace the determinants of the foreign policies of hedging states. We use the case of Chinese energy security strategy in the Middle East as an illustrative case study. It first uses four criteria to establish that China’s energy security strategy in the Middle East is a strong example of strategic hedging behaviour. Then it examines the impact of oil production in the Middle East countries on the growth of Chinese economic relationships with these countries. The results of this study show clearly that oil production plays an important role in the Sino-Middle East relations. We find a positive relationship between oil production in Middle East countries, on the one hand, and the distribution and growth of China’s trade and investment with these countries, on the other hand. These results confirm that strategic hedging behaviour leads to developing China’s economic relations with the oil-producing countries in order to cover its growing needs for energy to support its economic growth. This article represents the first attempt to trace the impact of strategic hedging behaviour on the foreign policies of hedging states. Thus, it contributes to the support of the strategic hedging framework as a new theory in international relations.
This article examines policies of both China and the United States in the Middle East. It evaluates the effectiveness of Beijing's strategic hedging behavior against Washington's “hard power” strategies by discussing several policy challenges in this region: energy security, the Iranian nuclear issue, terrorism, regional alliance structures, and the “Arab Spring.” The results of this study show that the gradual retreat of the United States from the Middle East coincides with a stronger Chinese presence in the region on several fronts. In examining Sino‐U.S. power competition in the Middle East, it contributes to the advancement of “strategic hedging” as a still underdeveloped concept in the International Relations literature.
In order to assess progress toward achieving compliance with the International Health Regulations (2005), member states may voluntarily request a Joint External Evaluation ( JEE). Pakistan was the first country in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region to volunteer for and complete a JEE to establish the baseline of the country's public health capacity across multiple sectors covering 19 technical areas. It subsequently developed a post-JEE costed National Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS). The process for developing the costed NAPHS was based on objectives and activities related to the 3 to 5 priority actions for each of the 19 JEE technical areas. Four key lessons were learned during the process of developing the NAPHS. First, multisectoral coordination at both federal and provincial levels is important in a devolved health system, where provinces are autonomous from a public health sector standpoint. Second, the development of a costed NAPHS requires engagement and investment of the country's own resources for sustainability as well as donor coordination among national and international donors and partners. Engagement from the ministries of Finance, Planning and Development, and Foreign Affairs and from WHO was also important. Third, development of predefined goals, targets, and indicators aligned with the JEE as part of the NAPHS process proved to be critical, as they can be used to monitor progress toward implementation of the NAPHS and provide data for repeat JEEs. Lastly, several challenges were identified related to the NAPHS process and costing tool, which need to be addressed by WHO and partners to help countries develop their plans.
Strategic hedging is used by second-tier states in order to improve their relative position vis-a-vis the system leader. It is most likely to occur in unipolar systems that are experiencing power diffusion, and it involves the improvement of both military and economic capability while simultaneously avoiding a direct confrontation with the system leader. Strategic hedging takes place against the backdrop of key system dynamics involving the diffusion of hard and soft power away from the system leader toward various second-tier states. In this article, I argue that strategic hedging by second-tier states involves a gradual, multistage process, starting with a significant power difference between the hedging state and the system leader, and possibly leading to the disappearance of this difference as a result of successful hedging policies. I provide a four-stage transformation mechanism that allows the analyst to gauge the level of transition to the second phase of strategic hedging by second-tier states. I use China as a case to illustrate our hypothesis. The results show that the transition to the second phase is not yet complete in the case of China, but, that this could be the case in the next few years. As the second-tier state evolves to the second phase, its relative military capability increases while its relative economic growth slows down. Progressing through the stages of strategic hedging, the second-tier state's fears of upsetting the system leader fade as the power difference between itself and the system leader declines. Given the importance of strategic hedging as a new structural theory in international relations, this study not only contributes to the development of this theory, but also provides systematic indications of Great Power dynamics in the foreseeable future.
Background Strategic hedging is a form of behavior used by states wanting to improve their competitiveness while at the same time avoiding direct confrontation with main contenders. It is an appealing option for states facing uncertainty due to structural changes in the international system such as the present unipolarity giving way to a process of power diffusion. Under such conditions, strategic hedging becomes an attractive alternative for other strategies like balancing, bandwagoning, and buckpassing. Especially for second-tier states, it becomes a behavior of choice vis-à-vis the system leader. Aims The strategic hedging research program, however, is in its early stages. Previous research on strategic hedging developed without a clear account of national hedging capabilities, making it difficult to understand key reasons for successful hedging in some cases and its failure in others. This study represents the first attempt to measure the core components of a state's strategic hedging capability and as such provides a comparative snapshot of those components by means of a composite index. Methods The index comprises three core dimensions (economic capability, military power and decision-making capability), which are broken down into six sub-indicators: gross domestic product (GDP), foreign exchange and gold reserves, government debt, military expenditure, growth of military arsenal, and democracy. Because second-tier states in the international system are likely to have the greatest incentives to engage in & Gustaaf Geeraerts
In light of growing tensions in the Persian Gulf between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the search for a formula of security in the five small Gulf States—Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)—has become a complex issue. The question that arises is how these small Gulf States can maintain security and stability in the prevailing scenario. As the weaknesses of the small Gulf States tends to polarize the region even more, it is argued that a hedging strategy can best capture the security dilemma that the small Gulf States are facing. This article examines how the five small Gulf States are facing the current security dilemma by following (or not) a hedging strategy. The results of a qualitative content analysis of news articles, official government's documents, and academic literature show that the Gulf States vary in warmth toward Iran or Saudi Arabia. Oman, and to a lesser extent Kuwait, seem to have good relations with both sides. Qatar currently enjoys relatively warm relations with Iran, while the UAE and Bahrain lean more toward the Saudi side.
Throughout the civil war, the Syrian opposition has been politically and militarily supported by several countries. At present, with its boots on the ground, Turkey is the main backer of the armed opposition in northern Syria. In the region, Ankara envisions a long-term presence which is characterized by a continuous control along the M-4 highway from Idlib in the west to the Iraqi border in the east. This will depend, however, on Turkey’s negotiations with Russia and its relations with the US. Meanwhile, the EU has limited its engagement with Ankara, by mainly focusing on the refugee crisis. Yet, divergent views and contesting interests are hindering an effective cooperation between the two on the Syrian “dossier”. In light of this, this paper argues that the EU should broaden its perspectives, while establishing permanent contact with Turkey. This necessitates the continuation of the EU’s financial support given to Ankara to host refugees; the backing of Turkey in maintaining a frozen conflict situation in Idlib; the increasement of diplomatic engagement in the provision of humanitarian aid; the backing of any effort that aims at ending the hostilities and establishing ceasefires; and the showing of empathy towards Turkish concerns on border security and terrorism. Keywords: Syrian crisis, Turkey, European Union, Northern Syria, humanitarian aid
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