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relative advantage is sought around the margins, with a multipolar mix of states joining in fluid, dynamic relationships based on tactical gains and losses over time. Traditional balance-of-power methods of conflict management seem to work best under these circumstances (Kraig, 2004).
The hegemonic or counter-proliferation strategy is based on the victory of the interests of one set of states over those of others and the operational use of military and economic instruments for compellance as well as deterrence. In sum, the hegemonic approach views diplomatic relations largely in terms of bilateral and selectively multilateral relationships. The central idea of the cooperative-security school is that all nation states will find greater relative security through mutual obligations to limit their military capabilities rather than through unilateral or allied attempts to gain dominance. Under the cooperative-security approach, security is increasingly defined as a collective good that cannot be divided, due largely to the globalization of social and economic trends, the diffusion of new technologies with dual-use applications, and the specter of mass destruction (Kraig, 2004).
Kraig believes that comprehensive multilateral coalition’s strategy offers the best prospect for building a peaceful and stable future in the Persian Gulf, if leaders are concerned with long-term value rather than short-term gains. Kraig concludes that there are two major contending approaches to Persian Gulf security: U.S. hegemony and principled multilateralism. If the hegemony approach is going to be carried out, Persian Gulf relations would lead to big conflicts. But In contrast to the approach of hegemony, a principled multilateral approach to Persian Gulf security would be successful for this region (Kraig, 2004).
Michael Kraig believes that a new security order should be created in the Persian Gulf by building additional layers to the current security system with greater emphasis on multilateral cooperation. U.S.-Persian Gulf-state bilateral cooperation and the GCC would serve as the base layer. The second layer would involve setting up a new security organization that could notionally be called the “[Persian] Gulf Regional Security Forum (GRSF).” Southern and northern Persian Gulf States, without exceptions, would be the core members, together with extra-regional states and organizations with vested interests in the Persian Gulf (M. R. Kraig, 2006).
The critique to the Kraig’s approach is that Kraig believes involving extra-regional states – most notably the United States – in a peaceful and stable Persian Gulf will be important for achieving long-term stability (M. R. Kraig, 2006) but the experiences of recent years in the Persian gulf have shown that his idea cannot be true, because in spite of the presence of external powers especially Americans, many disturbances and conflicts have occurred in this important region.
Joseph McMillan, Richard Sokolsky and Andrew C. Winner (2003) provide another view and believe that the Persian Gulf region lacks a systematic way for Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia to interact with the rest of the Persian Gulf states. There is therefore a need to establish a new multilateral element to the region’s security architecture (Winner, 2003). However, they believe this new arrangement could entail certain risks for the United States. The principal limitation from a U.S. perspective is that a regional security structure could never substitute for the ability of the United States to project military power to the region to protect its own interests in extremis. The principal risk is that any security institution that embraces all the Persian Gulf countries could become an anti-U.S. or anti-Israeli bloc.
McMillan, Sokolsky and Winner (2001) believe any security architecture for the Persian Gulf must be able to accomplish three objectives: 1) Provide a collective self-defense capability for the weaker states; 2) promote an environment of cooperation on security issues that will reduce the probability and consequences of conflict among all the Persian Gulf states and enable them to cooperate on transnational threats; 3) enable the region to play an effective and constructive role in strengthening peace and stability beyond the Persian Gulf (Winner, 2003).
McMillan, Sokolsky and Winner (2003) believe a more inclusive multilateral security dialogue may be able to: 1) Increase the ability of regional states to deal with limited threats to peace and stability without requiring the major involvement of outside powers; 2) provide a mechanism for peaceful resolution of specific areas of contention that could otherwise cause the rivalries to flare up into open conflict; 3) identify a modest body of shared interests, toward which regional states can agree to work; 4) erode exclusionary barriers that inflame suspicions and drive states toward planning for worst-case scenarios; 5) develop habits of intraregional cooperation, upon which more ambitious efforts to increase regional stability can subsequently be built (Winner, 2003).
They conclude that what the Persian Gulf needs is a series of overlapping bilateral and multilateral relationships, with the newest element being a mutually reinforcing network of linkages among all the Persian Gulf states, including Iran and Iraq. So they believe that ASEAN [the Association of Southeast Asian Nations] Regional Forum (ARF), could serve as a model for a vehicle for dialogue on regional security issues in the Persian Gulf (Winner, 2003).
However, the Persian Gulf has its characteristics and needs a security arrangement based on its history and states and ASEAN and other such forums cannot be useful and helpful for this region. Anyway, other security arrangements can be a sample for this region but not as a prescription. On the other hand, McMillan, Sokolsky and Winner (2003) believe a new regional security architecture is only one element of a broader security arrangement for the Persian Gulf region and this order will continue to require a significantly revamped U.S. military presence, bilateral security arrangements between Washington and some Persian Gulf states, a robust U.S. capability to project power, and Persian Gulf state initiatives to promote good governance.
Andrew Rathmell, Theodore Karasik, David Gompert, et.al (2003) outline the disadvantages to the United States and to the region of today’s heavy dependence on a forward U.S. military presence and readiness to fight increasingly risky expeditionary wars. They believe that two alternative models for the Persian Gulf, a unilateral U.S. attempt to impose liberal democracy or a return to balance-of-power approach, will not work. Instead, a multilateral U.S. – European effort to build an intra-regional balance of power, by broad political reform around the Persian Gulf, could lay the basis for long-term stability.(Rathmell, Karasik, & Gompert, 2003)
Rathmell, Karasik and Gompert (2003) point to the past attempts of the United States to build a Persian Gulf security after withdrawal of Great Britain in 1971 and believe the Nixon Doctrine of Twin Pillars policy that the United States used involving the twin pillars of Iran and Saudi Arabia to ensure stability and to contain threats to the status quo, the U.S. strategy of relying on Iraq and the Persian Gulf states after the Islamic Revolution in Iran, and Dual Containment Policy for containing Iran and Iraq, were not successful. Subsequently, and the United States shifted from reliance on regional friends to an even more muscular forward presence (Rathmell et al., 2003)
Rathmell, Karasik and Gompert (2003) suggest two options for a post-war Persian Gulf security system that could form the basis for a redesign of the region: 1) Radical political transformation (leaping head to the 1920s): the democratizing vision will enable countries across the region to defuse domestic dissent and become productive members of the international community. But undemocratic Arab rulers are naturally frightened by this vision of democracy; 2) Second choice is leaping back to the 1970s toward the twin-pillars approach that is a more pragmatic model for a post-war Persian Gulf security system, this time relying on the GCC and Iraq. This model is unlikely to succeed because the past three decades have not resolved some of the underlying issues of Persian Gulf insecurity and because recent changes have made life more challenging (Rathmell et al., 2003).
Finally, these scholars at the end of their analysis conclude that no single paradigm will be sufficient to build a Gulf security system (Rathmell et al., 2003). Instead, a Persian Gulf security system needs to be constructed from three interlocking elements: Balance of power, reform of the region’s defense structures, and multilateralism that the United States and the EU need to partner in this process. Only such a combination will provide both the progress and the stability needed for enduring security.
Mraz (1997) in a different perspective, expresses three broad policy options for shaping a policy for the Persian Gulf: First, continuing the policy of Dual Containment, engaging Iran or Iraq, or both, seeking or supporting a change in the regimes of Iran and Iraq (M. J. L. Mraz, 1997) Mraz explains the advantages and disadvantages of these policies and in the end he believes that the United States should pursue a more active policy of engagement and enlargement. “The first method of engagement should be commercial. America must find some common ground with Iran. U.S. policy, which recognizes that Iran and Iraq are less of a threat if they are engaged, will be the greatest contributor in achieving our strategic interest in the region” (M. J. L. Mraz, 1997).
Saeed Taeb and Hossein Khalili (2008) two Iranian scholars present three Strategic Scenarios for security building in the Persian Gulf region: a) Formation of a security

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