Shifting Eastern Mediterranean Geometry

Jon B. Alterman, Haim Malka
Content Type
Journal Article
The Washington Quarterly
Issue Number
Publication Date
Summer 2012
Center for Strategic and International Studies
The security architecture that the United States helped establish after the Cold War in the Eastern Mediterranean is crumbling. That architecture emphasized two triangular partnerships: U.S.—Turkey—Israel and U.S.—Egypt— Israel. Each had its origin in the Cold War and gained new emphasis afterwards as a cornerstone of U.S. efforts to promote Middle Eastern stability. Yet the evolution of internal politics in Turkey over the last decade, combined with more recent shifts in Egypt, have brought to the fore civilian politicians who are openly critical of such partnerships and who have sidelined the partnerships' military proponents. The demise of these two triangles has profound implications for Israeli security, as well as for the U.S. military and diplomatic role in the Eastern Mediterranean. The changing geometry of U.S. relationships in the Eastern Mediterranean is part of a set of broader trends that make it more difficult for the United States to shape outcomes and set agendas in the region. This change in particular is likely to force the United States to emphasize bilateral relationships and ad hoc direct action in the future, placing a greater demand on ongoing U.S. management than has been the case in the past.
Political Geography
United States, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Egypt