The place and role of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in the international system can be understood and analysed as a set of asymmetrical relationships with distinct dynamics. The external environment affects the security, political, economic and social developments in the MENA region, while these not only interact with but often shape the international agenda, prompt international global action and challenge or reinforce the existing order and norms. The present policy brief focuses on the relationship and the relative balance between the global and the regional order. It looks at whether the region is embedded in global dynamics or peripheral to them. The dynamics of this complex relationship are considered on the basis of three sets of issues: (1) the role and capacity of global actors (the USA, Russia and China) in shaping the regional order and how the region shapes the broader foreign and security policies of these superpowers; (2) contentious global issues and their relations to the MENA region (borders and mobility, NGOs, WMD proliferation and non-proliferation, and competition for natural resources/energy); and (3) global integration dynamics (the United Nations and multilateralism, economic and financial globalization, and the impact of technological developments on the regional order).