in order to achieve the desired result. Robert Gilpin developed the theory of hegemonic stability theory within the realist framework, but limited it to the economic field. Niall Ferguson remarked that the theory has offered insights into the way that economic power works, but neglected the military and cultural aspects of power (Grondin, 2016). Federalism also offers a rebuke to realist assumptions. federalism refers to the theory or advocacy of federal political orders, where final authority is divided between sub-units and a centre. Unlike a unitary state, sovereignty is constitutionally split between at least two territorial levels so that units at each level have final authority and can act independently of the others in some area. Citizens thus have political obligations to two authorities. The allocation of authority between the sub-unit and center may vary. Typically, the center has powers regarding defense and foreign policy, but sub-units may also have international roles. The sub-units may also participate in central decision-making bodies. The basic idea behind federalism is that a unifying relationship between states should be established under a common system of law. Conflict and disagreement should be resolved through peaceful means rather than through coercion or war. Its most important aspect is in recognizing that different types of institutions are needed to deal with different types of political issues (Evans & Newnham, 1998).   This study aims to examine the issues surrounding GERD. To be successful in the task a review of the existing relevant literature must be undertaken to understand both the issues and the what has already been said about them. This is a brief literature review, aiming to show what information is already existing rather than given an in depth review of each piece of literature. It is examining the existing literature surrounding the international political dimensions to the GERD. Articles are all published works in English. This review will not address texts that do not examine the issues through a political lens, although some of the following article provide a political analysis as well as others. The general consensus from non-political research is that GERD is a project that can be beneficial to all parties involved, though more in-depth research could be done with regards to its affect on local level agricultural practices. Texts will be covered in chronologically, starting with the earliest. There is a growing body of literature on this topic. As negotiations surrounding GERD continue to develop, inevitably, so to will the literature. The existing literature tends to focus on a few key aspects. These are the geopolitical rivalry between Egypt and Ethiopia, nationalism and identity, and levels of cooperation on the management of the Nile’s waters.   ‘The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and the Blue Nile: Implications for transboundary water governance’ is an article written by Dr. Michael Hammond (2013). This text is straight forward. This is because o how clearly it is written. It lays out what the situation is surrounding the construction of GERD and why Egypt and Sudan have issues with its construction. It also gives useful historical information, though this is brief.   ‘The Human Security Dimensions of Dam Development: The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam’ is an article by Jennider C. Veilleux (2013). This text deals with the human security dimension of GERD. It presents two possible outcomes for human security on the level of international politics. It notes that if states are able to affectively cooperate on the management and development of the Nile it could improve human security for all. However, it also cautions that if GERD does have negative impacts for localized communities downstream, though it notes that more research is needed in this area, this could lead to poor levels of human security due to environmental change and potential disagreements between states.   ‘The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam: Evaluating Its Sustainability Standard and Geopolitical Significance’ is an article by Huiyi Chen and Ashok Swain (2014). This text assesses the sustainability standard and geopolitical significance of GERD. It finds that Ethiopia is not following the guidelines set out by the WCD to achieve sustainability. It also asserts Ethiopia is now a major stakeholder in the Nile and this challenges Egypt’s hegemony. It believes that Egypt is being forced to cooperate on GERD but that this could also lead to further regional cooperation in water management.   ‘The Grand Renaissance Dam and prospects for cooperation on the Eastern Nile’ it an article by Dale Whittingtona, John Waterburyb and Marc Jeulandc (2014). This text goes further in depth than other literature. It discusses the cooperation that needs to occur between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan for GERD to reach it’s potential of being beneficial to the whole region. First, Ethiopia needs to agree with Egypt and Sudan on rules for filling the GERD reservoir and on operating rules during periods of drought. Second, Egypt needs to acknowledge that Ethiopia has a right to develop its water resource’s infrastructure for the benefit of its people based on the principle of equitable use, and agree not to block the power trade agreements that Ethiopia needs with Sudan to make the GERD financially viable. This text suggests that Sudan’s place geopolitically is not to simply side with Egypt but will benefit the most from defused tensions between Egypt and Ethiopia and strong cooperation on the management of the Nile.   ‘The Nile and the Grand Ethiopian Renisance Dam: Is there a meeting point between nationalism and hydrosolidarity’ (Dalia Abdelhady et al., 2015) is a text that concludes that nationalism and hydrosolidarity can be used in conjunction to better understand social, cultural and political aspects of water management in the case of GERD. It finds that there is not enough cooperation currently happening between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan.     ‘The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam: a benefit sharing project in the Eastern Nile?’ is an article by Rawia Tawfk (2016). The article notes that negotiations over the GERD have not transformed the debate in the Eastern Nile from sharing water to sharing benefits. Nationalistic discourse used by the three governments, the political sensitivity of the Nile issue, cautious Egyptian approach towards Eastern Nile cooperation beyond the project, divisions within policy circles in Egypt on dealing with the project and with the NBI as a framework of cooperation, the failure of Egypt to adapt its water policies to expected changes in the post-GERD era, and the new power asymmetries in the Eastern Nile have affected, and will continue to affect, positions in ongoing negotiations, making it more difficult to reach a benefit-sharing deal.   ‘Ethiopia’s Challenge to Egyptian Hegemony in the Nile River Basin: The Case of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam’ is an article by Hala Nasr and Andreas Neef (2016). It focuses on Egypt’s role as the regional hegemon and what the impact of that role is on the issues surrounding the GERD. The focus of this text is mainly a geopolitical one. It looks into the power dynamics between Ethiopia and Egypt and concludes that GERD represents a substantial challenge to Egypt’s hegemony in the region and could cause a geopolitical power redistribution.     The majority of the literature on the GERD focuses on geopolitical rivalry, national identity, or states’ cooperation over the GERD scheme. In her 2013 article The Human Security Dimensions of Dam Development: The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam Veilleux differs from other political academics by looking at the project’s human security dimensions. There is a lot more room for literature to examine the GERD from other, unexplored dimensions. One point noted in the literature that could be build upon is the role of colonial era laws. There is a lack of critical perspective in much of the literature, other than criticizing Ethiopia’s lack of transparency. The existing literature appears to be overwhelmingly based in a realist theoretical perspective. The existing literature talks, extensively, about power relations and the role of Egypt as the hegemon in the region. This study can add to our understanding of the issues surrounding the GERD’s construction by broadening the theoretical considerations being made when writing on the topic. Offering a perspective based more in the constructivist school of though in international relations will enable this to happen. By shedding light on the norms and expectations that influence the behavior of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt it is possible to deepen the understanding of the issues this study is addressing.     These realist explanations give valuable insights into the potential real world outcomes of the issues this study analyses. When considering what can be learnt from an analysis based in a constructivist view point it is important to keep in mind what has already been learnt by the studies that have already been carried out, rooted in a realist theoretical framework. By understanding the realist explanations for the issues sounding GERD and what the realist predictions are for the future of this case it is possible to conduct an analysis that is properly contextualized any findings from this study. Not doing this would mean any findings would risk becoming less reliable in terms of the predictions they make and any thesis they assert. With this in mind, it is necessary to clearly set out what the realist predictions and and explanations are. As one might expect, realist explanations for the issues surrounding GERD tend towards focusing on the power dynamics between the parties involved, particularly the dynamic between Egypt and Ethiopia. Noting Egypt’s role as the regional hegemon and historical decision maker with matter pertaining to the development of the Nile and its tributaries is important. This is because these facts inform how the various parties involved approach the issues they are dealing with. Realism explains the issues by drawing from the differing power dynamics of Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia. The construction of GERD would mean Ethiopia would hold a significant degree of power when it comes to controlling the Nile’s flows. This would mean a relative loss of power for Egypt. Because of this Egypt does not want to allow the completion of GERD and will appose the dam in order to protect its power and security. While Sudan would be in the same position as Egypt, being downstream of Ethiopia’s control of the Blue Nile, it does not hold the current and historic position of hegemon in the region. This means the loss of power it will experience upon GERD’s completion is smaller relative to the power it had before the dam’s construction. This can help explain why Sudan has been more cooperative in negotiations than Egypt has been.   Drawing predictions from a realist perspective is difficult to do if it is taken seriously, as is with any school of thought in international relations. This is why most authors tend to shy away from making any actual predictions. However, trying to understand what a relist perspective would predict come from this case can further our understanding of what realism offers when analyzing the issues around GERD. Realist prediction center around how states maximize either their power or security. Maximizing power or security in today’s international system is not as straight forward as it once was. If Egypt and Sudan were to invade Ethiopia to stop GERD’s implementation it would ultimately decrease their power and security because the international community would not allow it. They would be pushed out of Ethiopia and likely face severe sanctions from the rest of the world. While Egypt is a regional hegemon it is not at all a global hegemon and must still abide by the expectations set by the rest of the world. From a realist point of view, the best way for Egypt to protect its position as the regional hegemon as well as maintain its current level over the Nile’s waters would be to try and prevent GERD being brought into use through any means deemed legitimate by the current international system. Egypt can already be seen doing this, consistently stalling negotiations or citing outdated laws. Sudan would be expected to be cautious of the idea of Ethiopia having the level of control GERD would give them. However, without a hegemonic position at stake Sudan would likely try and stay neutral so as not to offend either Ethiopia or Egypt, less either emerge as the regional hegemon. Realists would expect the dam to be eventually completed and the reservoir filled as the benefits outweigh any negative impacts they might incur due to Egypt’s stance against the dam’s construction.                                                                     


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