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Regionalism in Crisis: GCC Integration without Democracy


At the core of “disembedded regionalism” in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is an incapacity to foster more representative forms of politics that are responsive to citizens. Instead, elite-to-elite relations are a salient feature that characterises Gulf politics. A radical re-reading of Jürgen Habermas and John Rawls, applied to the GCC in the first two decades of the 21st century, confirms that top-down management of politics is conducive to conflict and disintegration as against integration, marginalising the agenda of multi-level governance within the subregion. Set against the backdrop of the current blockade/crisis, this critical rendition throws into sharp relief the non-democratic brand of GCC regionalism.
Keywords: Gulf Cooperation Council, Jürgen Habermas, John Rawls, disembedded regionalism, democracy, GCC crisis