The Diversification of (In)Security in 21st Century UAE and Qatar: Cultivating Capital, Interdependence and Uncertainty
AuthorCallen, David J.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractNeoliberal preferences by the ruling families and elite of both the UAE and Qatar have informed their decision-making along the lines of investors or CEOs of country corporations. Therefore, 21st century development in these countries has followed the patterns of diversifying a portfolio. While the literature speaks to the diversification of the economy, this dissertation presents the diversification of security, wherein a neoliberal worldview shapes holistic approaches to security. Given the hard power weakness of these countries, built as it is upon the foundation of a temporary strength—resource wealth—that is rapidly becoming a future weakness, the leaders of these states have sought to maximize the efficient use of resource wealth by developing a broad array of capital and cooperation-producing activities that fill particular niche roles in the international community, thereby providing interdependence that contributes to maintaining the status quo and security. In the UAE this has followed the haven approach, a pattern that develops internally to offer a depth and breadth of activity that draws in the international community and its various forms of capital. Qatar has taken the broadcaster approach, building upon a haven-like foundation to project outward through media and diplomacy for the sake of producing interdependence. Interestingly, both countries leverage sport for the diversification of security in each approach. The UAE offers sheer numbers and scope of sport that contribute to and promote the sport capital of its haven while Qatar courts fewer but grander large-scale events that present a stage for projecting its sport power. Yet, as is the case with any strategy there are inherent risks to implementing these approaches for security purposes, chief among which is the exchange of one set of known risk—or insecurity—for another, below-the-surface set. Both countries have exacerbated or created internal sources of instability, from rapid, untenable development and the subsequent abuse of migrant workers to challenges to traditional values and identity. Ultimately, however, the UAE's haven approach has proven the most diverse and therefore most durable, especially in light of the Arab Spring. This is shown through the press profile measure, which uses keywords derived from the (in)security characteristics of each approach to ascertain the profile of each country based on articles in the international press. It, too, demonstrates that the depth and breadth of the UAE's diverse portfolio haven activities better situates it to present a profile of a viable partner for interdependence to the global community. In neoliberal and investment terms, during an economic downturn the UAE held cash and a wide assortment of bonds while Qatar doubled-down on high-risk, high-reward stocks like military and political engagement as well as the Muslim Brotherhood. On one hand, as the value of these stocks plummeted Qatar's portfolio has lost tremendous value and it continues to delay "realizing" its losses by cutting ties and rebalancing. On the other hand, the UAE now has the freedom to further rebalance and diversify its portfolio of security activities by selectively engaging in prestige-producing endeavors like using a female fighter pilot to spearhead the US-led coalition against ISIS.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Near Eastern Studies