The 2nd meeting of the Policy Council of JFIR on "The Change of Situations in the Middle East and the Trend of International Politics" Held

The 2nd meeting of the Policy Council of JFIR on “The Change of Situations in the Middle East and the Trend of International Politics” was held on January 28, 2014.

At the outset, Prof. Dr. ITO Kenichi, Chairman of the Policy Council, made an opening remark saying, “Today, Dr. YAMAUCHI Masayuki, Councilor of JFIR, Professor Emeritus of The University of Tokyo, will make a special keynote report on ‘The Diplomatic Trend of Arab Middle Eastern Countries.’ At the first Policy Council meeting held on November 11, 2013, Dr. TAKUBO Tadae, Director of JFIR, made an in-depth keynote speech on the topic of ‘The Diplomatic Trend of the Obama Administration.’ Questions were raised whether Obama Administration’s diplomacy had sufficient consistency. Is this simply an issue of Obama Administration alone? Or is this an issue of diplomacy of a country named the United States? Such change of situations in the international politics was triggered by the phenomenon referred to as ‘Arab Spring.’ At this 2nd meeting, the Policy Council would like to bring the focus of our debate to the Arab countries, where the change had originated, and would like to discuss the possible change in the rule of the game of international politics at large, including maintenance and formation of international order and a role of the United States therein.”

Subsequently, Councilor YAMAUCHI made a kickoff presentation, saying, “In 2014, the Middle East, along with East Asia, is expected to remain a focal point of international tension. In view of such political processes as President Obama’s compromising deal with Russia over the Syria issue at the end of last year, and the partial lifting initiated by P5 + 1 (permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany) of the economic sanctions imposed on Iran on condition that it suspends its high-level uranium-enrichment program, we must admit that it would be a completely separate issue how the agreement which President Obama views as ‘positive’ in terms of its Iran policy or the agreements made by German Chancellor Merkel and Russian President Putin would appear in the eyes of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. As far as the Middle East is concerned, self-righteous policies from outside would tend to make intra-regional violence grow intense. While advocating peace under the banner of globalism would be all very fine from subjective viewpoint, such subjectivity does not always lead to peace and non-violence in the regional context. If countries of the West, especially American politicians, conduct Middle East diplomacy with the view to reaching an agreement with Iran as a short-term and large issue, this would introduce greater complexity to the regional conditions of the Middle East. Then a question arises whether such consequence really merits a Nobel Peace Prize.” Following the presentation, free discussion among the members of the Policy Council took place. 32 members participated in the discussion.


The Japan Forum on International Relations (JFIR)