Impact of Regional Religious Conflicts on Jordanian Foreign Policy

800 words | 3 page(s)

Theoretical Framework
The study of International Relations (IR) still remains a challenging task given the complexity of the issues involved. From culture, religion, gender, security to economics, the issues that define the international interaction space are myriad. Thus, numerous theories exist, but none can explain the impact of regional religious conflicts on Jordan’s foreign policy fully than the religion and international relations theory.

The theory is a new paradigm, which can be dated back to 1998, and gained international acclaim after 9/11. Only after Osama bin Laden confirmed Al Qaeda’s involvement in the bombing at the World Trade Center (WTC) did scholars see the need to study the nexus between religion and IR in a closer view. According to the theory of IR, religion has a significant impact on how it forms. Religion determines the actors, their needs and capacity to attract support from elsewhere, and the overall rules they are willing to follow (Sandal, Nukhet 24,130). Thus, fundamentalists have the greatest impact on world politics by acting domestically to undermine or reinforce state authority to attain the set goals in mind. Therefore, the religious composition of the Jordanian population and the region in which the country is located must be considered to understand the influence of religion in the foreign policy of the country.

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Literature Review
Religion plays a more primitive role of uniting or dividing a people based on the predetermined roles it has played in proclaiming victory or defeat. In societies where there is no precise distinction between people, religion takes over the mantle (Anderson, John 212). This association is evident in Islam and Christianity, the two religions born out of the divisions in Abrahamic faith in the Middle East. Thus, John Anderson concludes that religion is the mother of both local and international conflicts. This notion is supported by Scott Thomas (28–35), who categorically argues that there has been a resurgence of religiously-motivated conflict around the globe in recent times. However, Thomas is quick to point out that making conclusions about the role of religion in fanning international conflict is not easy since there is no clear conceptual framework for advancing such studies. Thus, according to Thomas, the only possible way is to place religion in the position of the confounding variable and let the numerous IR theories apply to any case. The danger of taking religion as a confounding variable is that it may end up affecting both the dependent an independent variable thereby causing confusion.

Statement of Hypothesis
Islam makes the majority of Muslims in Jordan feel superior to the other people more so Christians and Judaists which results in aggravated conflicts against countries dominated by these non-Muslims.

Operationalization and Measurement of Variables
The Middle East is dominated by three key religions: Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. However, Islam is the most dominant. The three religions are inextricably linked such that Islam is a product of both Christianity and Judaism, while Christianity stems from Judaism. Thus, in analyzing the impact of religion on Jordanian foreign policy, each of the three religions becomes an independent variable. The researcher would like to see how foreign policy changes with a variation in religious beliefs. Then there is a fourth dependent variable which is the secular society in relation to national policy. The dependent variables will include propensity of causing war, border restrictions, and engagement in the production of weapons of mass destruction as well as nuclear enrichment programs and domestic unity.

Data Acquisition
Underscore the impact of religion on Jordanian foreign policy. A lot has been published about Jordan and the Middle East crisis. All these studies have enough data that can be used to analyze the impact of religion on the foreign policy of Jordan.
Reporting and Analysis of Data
Draw both similarities and differences and use them to prove the hypothesis.

Summary and Conclusions
This research project aims at determining the impact of religion on the foreign policy of Jordan specially the regional religious crisis. Thus, it views the IR theory through the lens of religion to underscore its importance in international association of countries. The literature reveals that there is a resurgence of religion as a key determinant of international relations. In the operationalization and measurement of variables section of the study, it is stated that Islam is the most dominant religion followed by Judaism and Christianity. Thus, Islam has a hegemonic tendency against the other two, which is the major cause of conflict. Therefore, based on these findings, the literature review is found to be the most suitable research method with religion being the independent variable and the outcomes as the dependent variables. 

  • Anderson, John. “Religion and International Relations.” Issues in International Relations, 2008, p. 207.
  • Sandal, Nukhet. Religion in International Relations Theory. Routledge, 2015.
  • Thomas, Scott. “Religion and International Conflict.” Religion and International Relations. Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2000, pp.1

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