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The IUP Journal of International Relations :
Influence of Religion on the Foreign Policies of the US and West Asian States
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Religion is an important determinant of foreign policy. It has a psychological impact on policy makers. Religious values and ideologies have an impact on state behavior. American foreign policy has cultural connotations in its interaction with the foreign policies of other states. Foreign policies of West Asian states have a deep-rooted connection with religion and religious ideology. The development of West Asia as a region is historically linked to religious and sectarian factors. West Asia’s identity is strongly linked to its religious traditions and beliefs. It is quite natural that religious identity, values and philosophies influence such a region. Conservatism in the region is inseparable from Islamic and Jewish factors. Religion is an important factor in determining the foreign policy of West Asian states. Thus, the influence of religion on states’ foreign policies is an area that requires further exploration by the academic circle. West Asia serves as a natural region of analysis in this regard due to its position in international politics and the way it is perceived by the West, especially the US.

 
 
 

West Asia is one of the most important and sensitive regions in the realm of international politics in the contemporary world. The states’ behavior in West Asia has never been easy to predict. The United States’ foreign policy towards West Asia has been a complex issue to study. The factors determining America’s policy towards West Asia are not economic and strategic factors alone.

When analyzing the actions of states in current times, political analysts and scholars tend to look at geographic, economic, and strategic factors. There seems to be minimal focus on factors other than the ones mentioned above. In a region like West Asia, religion still has a huge role to play. Though the world debates the end of ideology and places more importance on pragmatism influencing state practices, religious ideology still plays a significant role in certain regions of the world. America’s perception towards West Asia is also determined by public perception, Christian culture, and the idea of American exceptionalism which looks to promote democracy in the conflict-ridden region. There are various issues in West Asia involving both state and non-state actors. The nature of tension between the West Asian states is hard to determine through a single point of view. The influence of religion in the foreign policy of West Asian states has a direct impact on the US. The emerging power structure in West Asia is a complex one with the involvement of three major players tied to three distinct religious identities. America’s foreign policy makers should be able to understand the importance of recognizing this emerging power structure in West Asia which could lead to a conflict between a Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia, a Shia-dominated Iran, and a Jewish-dominated Israel. Due to its military might, economic power, and regional influence, the US naturally becomes an important player. Each of the three major powers in West Asia will have to maintain a balanced relationship with the US at least to prevent its partnership with a rival regional power.

 
 
 

International Relations Journal,Psychological Impact on Policy Makers, Foreign policies of West Asian states, Influence of religion on states.