Thursday, May 10, 2012

Regional integration and the state, Mideast version

An interesting statement by Harriet Feinberg reproduced in this post suggests that "new governance structures" may be the eventual solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem. Israel, she writes, will need to become part of two "regional consortia," one consisting of Mideast countries, the other of those that border the Mediterranean. She cites the EU as a work-in-progress and also (implicitly) a model, as well as regional integration efforts in Africa and South America.

One of the notable features of existing regional arrangements, however, is that they have not replaced nation-states but rather built on top of them. Nor is there any strong evidence that the EU, for instance, is going to replace states in the foreseeable future. Thus while Feinberg's thoughts are to be welcomed, her vision of separate nation-states in the Mideast becoming as obsolete as Royal typewriters in 50 or 100 years is one that I would hesitate to place bets on as a prediction. Which is not to say that regional consortia are not a good idea; they almost certainly are. Whether they can solve the underlying problems in that region, however, is less clear.

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