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The list of crises plaguing the Middle East is growing.Today, too, mainly European, or Western, approaches to ensuring stability in the Middle East no longer work. As a top European diplomat told me recently, the Middle East crisis is in desperate need of fresh thinking and new leadership. Unfortunately, neither the US nor Europe appears to be in a position to implement such an approach for the Middle East.Involving China in Middle East diplomacy makes sense politically, but it could also make sense culturally and historically. China faces fewer security vulnerabilities from the Middle East (except on matters of energy) than Europe does, and it has no imperial legacy in the region – and thus none of the emotional baggage of the colonial past. Of course, China may resist exposing itself to the pitfalls of Middle East diplomacy. Yet, within the context of more broad-based international engagement, akin to the Helsinki process, China might actually be in the best position to help bring about long-term stability the Middle East.
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