Middle powers and soft-power rivalry: Egyptian-Israeli competition in sub-Saharan Africa

Siniver, A. and Tsourapas, G. (2023) Middle powers and soft-power rivalry: Egyptian-Israeli competition in sub-Saharan Africa. Foreign Policy Analysis, 19(2), orac041. (doi: 10.1093/fpa/orac041)

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Scholars of international relations have long recognized the importance of soft power in great powers’ hegemonic designs. In contrast, we know little of middle powers’ employment of noncoercive strategies of attraction and, in particular, how soft power operates in the context of middle-power antagonism. We suggest that, first, soft power enhances coalition-building strategies for middle powers. Contrary to expectations that states join forces against a shared threat, the use of soft power via development aid produces an “Us” versus “Them” distinction in target states that unites them in the absence of a common enemy. Second, middle states’ soft-power strategies are likely to support coalition maintenance so long as it does not challenge target states’ national interests. Utilizing extensive archival and interview-based data, we examine how soft power featured in Egyptian–Israeli competition across sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) from 1957 to 1974. We demonstrate how soft power operates beyond the context of great power agenda setting, therefore providing novel evidence for the importance of soft power in the interplay between interstate antagonism and noncoercion in world politics.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Gerasimos Tsourapas’ research is supported by the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) (Grant reference No. EP/X019667/1) and the Council for British Research in the Levant (2022 Pilot Study Grant).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Tsourapas, Professor Gerasimos
Authors: Siniver, A., and Tsourapas, G.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Journal Name:Foreign Policy Analysis
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN (Online):1743-8594
Published Online:20 January 2023
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2023 The Authors
First Published:First published in Foreign Policy Analysis 19(2):orac041
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
319514The International Politics of Mobility SanctionsGerasimos TsourapasEPSRC EU Guarantee (EPSRCEU)EP/X019667/1S&PS - Politics