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Differences in the US-EU Approaches to the Middle East
in Naveed Ahmad Tahir, ed, EU as an Emerging International Power: Its Middle east Policy (Area Study Centre, University of Karachi, 2009), pp 113-132
Trans-Atlantic differences over Iraq War and Middle Eastern democracy are quite often blown out of proportion. Differences do exist between the US and the EU over the manner of bringing about political change in the region, but they are not as stark as are generally perceived or portrayed. The Bush Administration during its second term was not as unilateral in its approach towards Iraq and Middle Eastern democracy as it was during its first term when the neo-conservatives called the shots. The US Democratic Party represents the same neo-liberal institutional creed that the Europeans adhere to. Yet, given the key structural difference between the US as a great power and the EU as an influential regional bloc, we may never see the same spirit of multilateralism in US Middle East policy as can be expected from the Europeans. However, this does not mean that Washington and Brussels will not pursue in the foreseeable even greater convergence and similarity in their respective approaches to issues of conflict like Iraq and political reforms such as BMENA. In recent years, the conservative leadership’s coming to power in Germany and France has likewise had considerable impact on narrowing down US-EU differences over the handling of Iraq War and the manner of democratizing the Middle East. Similarly, the US under the Democratic Administration of President Barack Obama is likely to be more multilateral in its approach to managing the conflict in Iraq and pursuing democratic reforms in the Middle East. This means that EU-US policies on the issue of democracy in the Middle East may see greater convergence in future. Full Text