Chapter 11: Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf and its adjacent states represent one of the most strategically important places in the world. A range of security issues converge there to create significant governance challenges for the region – which also have global implications. The region is influenced heavily by the United States of America, which reinforces a general preference among the major actors towards stability. At the same time, emerging human security challenges pose upward pressures on states’ capacities to reflect the needs and desires of their populations. The governance structures for regional security, consisting of state-to-state relationships and international institutions, are weak. The role of non-state actors and social dynamics are growing and introduce a degree of uncertainty for the existing governance trends. Iran, as a case study, presents a wild card for the region with potential to shape security governance dynamics. Overall, the Persian Gulf is a vital region for the world, and reflects a growing tension between existing systemic trends and the lack of governance structure. The Persian Gulf region has three levels of security governance – hegemony, balance of power and human security. The first two are consistent with realist, power-driven assumptions about security governance. The persistence of hegemonic stability and relative state power is challenged by internal and transboundary patterns of interactions that can challenge stability at the first two levels of governance.
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