Linkage defined

Diplomatic mediator for Bush Sr. and Bill Clinton, Dennis Ross uses the word “linkage” as a dirty word, on behalf of I$rael. I$rael seeks to divide the Islamic world and oppressed nations generally by treating their grievances separately and trying to find common cause with oppressed nations against other oppressed nations.

So under this rubric, we hear that Egypt and I$rael supposedly have common interests against Iran, Egypt because it fears the Shia splinter within Islam and Islamic fundamentalism. Contrariwise, there is a denial of pan-Arabism, Third Worldism or pan-Islamism.

The opposition to using “linkage” in diplomatic deals does not stop I$rael from asking Syria to stop supporting Hezbollah in Lebanon and Palestine, so the concept is not evenly applied. The idea is more that I$rael hopes to delink its enemies by enticing or coercing them one-by-one. The same division strategy is also the reason I$rael prefers pluralism — in the Arab world.

African political economist Samir Amin also uses the word “linkage” to refer to the Third World’s economic relationship to the rich countries via trade. Discussion of “delinking” can be about whether the Third World has allowed its governments to become too economically subservient. This discussion of linkage is apart from the diplomatic discussion of linkage.


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