Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE)

Reader 1

Jennifer Taw

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© 2017 Timothy C Plummer


China has become an increasingly important economic, and more recently, political force in the Middle East. Coupled with the perceived reduction in American power, this has caused Middle East states closely tied to the US to hedge in response to increased strategic ambiguity. Their strategies are characterized by simultaneous attempts to capture the economic and political gains of cooperation with China, while minimizing the risk of a continued dependence for their security on a US perceived to be disengaging from the region. This has resulted in a self-reinforcing regional dynamic of ambiguity that has incentivized these states to draw closer to China and thereby increase Chinese influence in the region. To test this theory, this paper examines the case of Saudi Arabia before discussing the effects of this strategy on the region’s dynamics. Hedging can create a self- fulfilling prophecy that reduces the power of the established hegemon, increases the power of a rising state, and increases the probability of a new systemic structure emerging.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.