Late Night Thoughts on a Middle Eastern Union because why not

Some other night at 3am while browsing YouTube videos when I should have been sleeping or writing, I came upon the above video and watched it multiple times in a row. Each time I watched it, this feeling in my chest grew. At first I thought it was love and laughter, but then it turned into sadness and worry.  I will call this feeling a Peace-in-the-Middle-East-itis that ultimately left me with a low opinion of myself, one that described me as a naive and ridiculous person. Because you know, that inexplicable desire for global peace, the one all beauty contestants are mocked for expressing? Yeah. That. It’s so silly to even think about these things as it is far outside my area of expertise… but I went with it, as a thought exercise. How could the West effectively help solve the “ongoing crisis” that is the Middle East? What I came up with was a Middle Eastern Union.

I realize Israel probably won’t go for a plan like this, but let’s suspend disbelief and pretend they would.  Actually, no, let’s just keep them outside of it for now, as well as Egypt.

The MEU could work like our democratic system with two “houses,” one house where every country gets one vote (representative, etc), and one where every country gets votes (or representatives) based off GDP. (Think “bicameral” like parliament or the US congress) The MEU doesn’t even need to be bicameral, they can just do this GDP thing. Countries with higher GDP get 2 votes, as opposed to lower performing countries who get 1 vote. (The map below is from 2007 and very out of date, and does GDP per capita… but I am using it because it is a good visual aid for you dear reader. Nominal GDP map of 2014 is here, GDP per capita from 2012 is here)

Turkey – 2w

Syria – 1e

Lebanon – 1w

Jordan – 1w

Georgia – 1w

Armenia – 1w

Azerbaijan – 1e

Iraq – 2w/e

Saudi Arabia – 2w

Kuwait – 2w

Bahrain – 2w

Qatar – 1w

UAE – 2w

Oman – 1w

Yemen – 1e

Iran – 2w/e
total = 23
(Add in Egypt at 2 and Israel at 2, the total is 27.) The total and point values are not set in stone, but the incentive, of gaining more influence in the region (votes, whatever) by improving the economy needs to stay.
The e’s and w’s stand for “east” and “west,” a voting designation I based off where each countries air force equipment comes from. The US (West) needn’t worry about Russia or China (East) exerting a ton of influence in the region (for now, at least) because:
# of w votes: ……………..
# of e votes: …..

I am hesitant to include Egypt because they are part of the African Union, but maybe they can be in both? Egypt is “w/e,” and Israel is obviously “w” even though they make some of their own military equipment. (Because, duh.)  Iran is a wild card and they also make all their own military equipment, so, w/e too.

OK these numbers are nice and all but why champion a Middle Eastern Union when there is already something called the Arab League? Because the Arab League is inept and irrelevant. This is what happens when you use “League” in your name and you’re not talking about sports. See the League of Nations, which was only around for 26 years… I kid (but not really).

While researching if this was a novel idea of mine, I found I am not the first person to think of this Middle Eastern Union. An academic actually had a similar thought in June of this year, a man named Ed Husain, an Adjunct Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the CFR. Different Arab nations have advocated for something similar starting in 2008, with an idea for a trading bloc. Fancy that!

So yeah, next time someone tries to assess your level of intelligence by asking you what your How to Achieve Peace in the Middle East plan is, you now have a good answer: a Middle Eastern Union.

Think of the children, please…



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