Date of Graduation

12-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

International and Global Studies

Advisor/Mentor

Purvis, Hoyt

Committee Member/Reader

Caldwell, Stephen

Committee Member/Second Reader

Haydar, Adnan

Abstract

The Middle East is notorious for the seemingly endless series of conflicts, instances of internal unrest, and political insurrections it witnesses. From the Gulf Wars in the late 20th Century, to the Arab Spring that began in 2010, to the rise of the Islamic State in 2013, it appears that almost every state in the region is inescapably engulfed in violence and instability. However, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has proven itself to be the exception to that rule over the years. While Jordan is not unfamiliar with domestic conflict and political unrest, the kingdom has demonstrated a remarkable resilience against and capability to overcome these crises and persevere in spite of them. Jordan's rather unusual stability can be traced to its moderate political system that cooperates with many states across the globe, and its geopolitical position that is simultaneously vulnerable and of great strategic value. It is for these reasons that Jordan's foreign policy decisions have a distinct impact on the region as a whole. These factors also distinguish Jordan from the majority of other Arab states due to the manner in which they affect the way Jordan approaches international relations. How and why, then, does Jordan have any significance to the international relations of the Middle East, and how is Jordan distinctive from other states in the region? This thesis will answer these questions by providing an overview of the history of Jordanian foreign relations, analyzing its role in current regional issues, and discussing in what ways this small desert kingdom can impact the stability of the Middle East as a whole.

Keywords

Jordan, Middle East, geopolitics, Arab Spring

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