From imperialism to failed liberal peace: how Europe contributed to MENA's failing states system and how MENA blowback threatens Europe

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Abstract

The Middle East and North Africa area was profoundly shaped under European imperialism, especially by the “peace to end all peace” imposed after WWI; the Euro-Mediterranean partnership was designed to deal with the long term consequence: a dysfunctional regional states system. It would establish a liberal peace on Europe’s Mediterranean borders via the export of economic and political reform, via soft rather than hard power, through the spread of norms by example quite different from the failed US attempt at military hegemony. Despite Europe’s benign self-image, the distinction between the European and American projects was only ever one of degree. First, the asymmetric hub-and-spokes system the Euro-Med project created reproduced the power imbalance between core and periphery and enabled the resulting arrangements to serve European interests first. Second, the incongruence between Europe’s export of neo-liberalism (with its associated inequalities and deconstruction of the social contrast in MENA states) and the attempted export of “democracy,” which helped de-legitimize MENA states, was exposed by the Arab Uprising, which helped create a MENA states system of failed or more repressive states, rather than a liberal peace. Europe reaped what it sowed in the form of massive refugee flows, terrorism and instability. What went wrong?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Mediterranean Politics
EditorsRichard Gillespie, Frederic Volpi
Place of PublicationAbingdon
PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
Pages60-71
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781315696577
ISBN (Print)9781138903982
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2017

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