Revisionist dreams, realist strategies: The foreign policy of Syria

Raymond A. Hinnebusch*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Citation (Scopus)


The 1967 defeat brought home the high costs of messianic revisionism and provoked the rise to power of Hafiz Al-Asad, a leader who, while no less stamped by Syria’s grievances and dreams, was prepared to chart a more realistic course matching Syrian objectives and means. Syria’s geographic position in the heart of the Arab East and astride a land without a historic tradition of statehood has shaped a foreign policy orientation that looks outward to the wider Arab world. Syria’s economy is too slim to support its foreign policy commitments. Syria’s military capabilities have continually expanded, especially under Asad, resulting in an enormous military machine for a country its size, although it has developed much less in qualitative terms. The military balance between Israel and Syria has historically been a component of a larger balance between Israel and a potential Arab war coalition. Syria has traditionally thought of itself as the “beating heart of Arabism.”.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Foreign Policies of Arab States
Subtitle of host publicationThe Challenge of Change
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages36
ISBN (Electronic)9781000229622
ISBN (Print)9780367292218
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


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