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The Gulf Looks East

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Sino-Arab Relations in an Age of Instability

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The United States must now confront a new and emerging dynamic as most Gulf Cooperation Council countries have begun to increasingly diversify their political, economic, and security partnerships to include China. For Gulf Arab monarchies, the choice of security or economic partner is made more complicated by increased domestic and regional instability stemming in part from Iraq, Syria, and Iran. Understanding the shifting economic and political alliances is vitally important for understanding the future of regional security and politics. This article examines Gulf Arab national security—particularly through the case of Saudi Arabia—and how the Gulf monarchies have increasingly bolstered their economic and political partnerships with China in recent years due in part to widespread anti-U.S. sentiment and the threat of domestic upheaval. It looks specifically at how Gulf national security can be shaped by internal versus external threats and what this means for the future of regional security.

Affiliations: 1: Associate Professor and Director of the South and Central Asia Security Studies Program, National Defense University, Washington, D.C.


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