Sunday 01 March 2020
The relatively small size of most GCC states compared to the wealth they are blessed with, given surrounding security threats has determined the need for collective action to preserve their status. Thus, the integration of the GCC states under one umbrella was critical. The concept of integration has been widely discussed by scholars since after the Second World War. In the two decades post 1945, the debate in International Relations realm was between two views or schools; the realist and the integrationist. The former argues that the study of international relations should be focused on the state or the nation states because they are the influential actors. On the other hand, integrationists believe that the state at the international level can achieve different objectives such as improved welfare of the people through integration. Thus, the state is not the only actor in international relations.
Integration Concept Definition
The most prominent integration theorists in the 1950s and 1960s were Karl Deutsch, and Ernst Haas (Reyadh, 2007). According to Deutsch, integration is a process which could cause a condition when a group of people “attained within a territory a sense of community and of institutions and practice strong enough to assure for a long time, dependable expectations of peaceful change among its population” (Deutsch, 1957). Deutsch collaborated with other scholars at Princeton on a study of ten cases. These cases were: the United States in 1789 and the post-Civil War reunion, the England-Scotland union in 1707, the 1921 breakup of the union between Ireland and the United Kingdom, the German unification of 1871, the Italian unification of 1859-1860, the dissolution of the Empire in 1918, the Norway-Sweden union of 1814 and its break-up in 1905, the gradual Swiss integration that culminated in the federation of 1884, the England-Wales union after 1485 and the formation of England in the Middle Ages. The study concluded that there were two concepts; integration and amalgamation, “The former has to do with the formation of communities and the latter with the establishment of organizations, associations or political institutions” (Makhawi, 1991).
Accordingly, international communities can be categorized as either amalgamated or pluralistic. According to Deutsch (1957 cited in (Harvey, 2011) by amalgamation, “We mean the formal merger of two or more previously independent units into a single larger unit, with some type of common government after amalgamation. This common government may be unitary or federal. The United States today is an example of the amalgamated type. It became a single governmental unit by the formal merger of several formerly independent units. It has one supreme decision-making center.” Whereas a pluralistic security community according to Deutsch (1957), “retains the legal independence of separate governments”.
The conditions for the emergence of a pluralistic security community are threefold: (a) compatibility of major values; (b) mutual responsiveness and (c) mutual predictability of behavior (Costopoulos, 1997). Such communities asserted by Deutsch can be achieved through different approaches such as conquest, explicit agreement, gradual habituation, or banding various combinations of these factors. In order for the foregoing security communities to succeed, there are twelve background conditions that need to exist according to Deutsch and his colleague. These background conditions are:
(1) Mutual compatibility and main values.
(2) A distinctive way of life.
(3) Expectations of stronger economic ties or gains.
(4) A marked increase in political and administrative capabilities of at least some participating units.
(5) Superior economic growth on the part of at least some participating units.
(6) Unbroken links of social communication, both geographically between territories and sociologically between different strata.
(7) A broadening of the political elite.
(8) Mobility of persons at least among the politically relevant strata.
(9) A multiplicity of communication and transaction.
(10) Compensation of flows of communications and transactions.
(11) A not too infrequent interchange of group roles; and
(12) Considerable mutual predictability of behavior (Stubb, 2014)
One of the findings that emerged from the study was that a pluralistic community is easier to achieve and retain compared to the amalgamation version.
Neo-functionalism theory suggests that the catalyst to integration among states is their interdependency. In order for the process of integration to be fostered societal actors embracing supranational loyalties and interest is essential. This concept stems from the David Mitrany’s Functionalism Theory. The latter’s approach of integration developed as a substitute for the prevailing federalism approach by the middle of the past century (Alexandrescu, 2007).
According to (Haas, 1958) integration is defined as a process, ‘’whereby political actors in several, distinct national settings are persuaded to shift their loyalties, expectations and political activities towards a new center, whose institutions possess or demand jurisdiction over the pre-existing national states’’ (p.16). Haas argues that during the integration process the interests of actors are obtained through a pluralist process.
Adding to the efforts of the above scholars, Joseph Nye suggested another definition for integration. His approach is based on breaking the idea or concept of integration into measurable constituent parts. These parts are economic, social and political integrations, which lead to the founding of transnational economies, societies, and political interdependence.
Considering the literature and theories that address the concept of integration, it is clear that political leaders play a major role in the success of integration. Their mutual understanding, trust, and contact are significant. This is particularly true in the case of the GCC’s formation. There was a high level of communication between the leaders, which played a significant role in establishing the GCC. What has been instrumental is the high level of homogeneity of political systems among Arabian Gulf states. Therefore, “A high degree of integration rests on a high degree of contacts between the elite” (Makhawi, 1991). In addition to the elite’s influence, cultural uniformity is an essential factor that promotes the notion of integration among states. The similarity of language, religion, and ethnicity is present in the case of GCC. Despite the commonalities among the states, the sought- after unity was not achieved. Another major factor that might represent a motive to integration is the nature of the threats states are encountering.
Most importantly, the experts argue that there are a set of background conditions that need to be fulfilled in order to form a successful integration.