and Li-Chen Sim
’s edited volume, External Powers and the Gulf Monarchies
(Routledge, 2018) is a timely contribution to understanding the increasingly diversified relations between the Gulf’s six oil-rich monarchies and external powers. Traditionally reliant on the United States for their security, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain have become far more assertive in the wake of the 2011 popular Arab revolts and mounting doubts about the reliability of the United States. The newly found assertiveness of the Gulf states, despite the fact that they remain largely dependent for their security on the United States, have forged closer ties with a host of external powers, including China, Russia, India, Turkey, Brazil, Japan and South Korea. Coupled with shifts in the oil market as the United States emerges as the world’s largest producer and exporter, Asian nations topping the Gulf’s oil clients, and OPEC’s need to coordinate with non-OPEC producers like Russia to manipulate prices and production levels, external powers have seen significant business opportunities in the Gulf states’ effort to wean themselves off oil and diversify their economies. In doing so, they have benefitted from the US defence umbrella in the region at no cost to themselves. This volume breaks ground by looking at the Gulf’s expanding relations from the perspective of the various major external powers rather than that of the Gulf states themselves. In doing so, it makes a significant contribution to an understanding not only of the Gulf but also of the nuts and bolts in the global rebalancing of power the potential emergence of a new world order.