chapter  15
48 Pages

The Arabs and Africans in a Changing World: Nassif Hitti

This is an attempt to study the development of interaction between the international system - with a focus on the superpower system - and the Arab and African regional systems - also with a focus on their interaction with the international system. My goal is to try to trace the future course of this interaction, which could be interpenetrational, parallel or non-parallel, and have different results depending on the form it takes. Thus the discussion will deal with the following:

II.Regional Interaction between the Arab and the African Systems within the International Framework

III.International Penetration of the Two Regional Systems in the Future

Among the similarities between the Arab and African regional systems is their place in the strategic perspective of the superpower system: according to the rules of the game, both are considered areas of competing influence. That is, each superpower tacitly accepts the other's legitimate right to interfere, to try to establish regional alliances, and to reinforce the positions of its friends in each region. In contrast, in areas of exclusive influence each of them does not allow the other to penetrate what it considers as its exclusive sphere of influence. This distinction leads to different patterns of behaviour. Since both the Arab and African regions are areas of competing influence, the reaction of one superpower to the other's interference in either or both of these regions is to some extent

flexible whereas in areas of exclusive influence the reaction to such interference is strong and vigorous: e.g., Eastern Europe for the Soviet Union, and Western Europe and Latin America for the United States. Furthermore, within this same perspective, the two regions are strategically linked as both are located on the Indian Ocean1 and share the Horn of Africa area and the waterways linking the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean.