Containing Arab Nationalism: The Eisenhower Doctrine and the Middle East Paperback – Mar 15 2004
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"Presents a compelling case for a fresh interpretation of the U.S.-Arab dynamic. . . . A thoughtful, persuasively argued study that makes a valuable contribution. . . . Should be considered mandatory reading for anyone seeking to understand the interaction of U.S. Cold War imperatives with the realities of Middle Eastern politics." -- "Journal of Cold War Studies"
About the Author
Salim Yaqub is assistant professor of American and international history at the University of Chicago.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
When Lebanon was threatened in 1958 U.S troops went ashore. When Jordan was threatened the UK sent paratroops. Syria was cemented for a short period. A revolution against the Shah was thwarted. Iraq was kept firmly in the orbit of the west. Saudi had no where to turn as Nasser invaded Yemen and bombed Saudi so that Saudi had to fund the royalists fighting in Yemen. In addition the U.S had to check nasserism in Libya and Algeria.
This was not a simple game. What one may notice is that Israel was not part and partial to this policy. Eisenhower advisors saw Israel as a leftist upstart, upsetting the Sunni elites they loved and not helpful against Communism. It wasn't until JFK that ISrael became a U.S ally. This will shock those who beleive the U.S created Israel and that Israel was an 'offshore military base' from the get go.
A wonderful contirbution.
Seth J. Frantzman
The time period covered in the book is short, but Yaqub explores the crucial years of 1956-1960 with remarkable depth. The major events of these years, such as the interventions in Lebanon and Jordan, as well as the Iraqi revolution are all delicately woven into the overall narrative of how the Cold War affected Western policy towards the region. Yaqub's writing style is superb, and the book is extensively researched. This book should be at the top of the list of students and scholars alike that wish to achieve a greater understanding of recent Middle Eastern history and how those countries interacted with the United States.
Yaqub did a great job "connecting the dots." Readers are treated to a "big picture" - the only picture that makes sense. The book recounts how what happened in Egypt or Syria had immediate ramifications for Jordan, Iraq or Lebanon, and vice versa; how clumsy policy mistakes in one part of the Middle Eastern theatre translated into broad and often unpredictable implications for the entire region. This multi-level, multi-faceted account is helped by Yaqub's reliance on a wealth of archival sources, including the Egyptian records. On the other hand, the Soviet angle is largely missing from the picture; the reasons for - and limits of - Nasser's frustration with Moscow are only superficially addressed, as are Khrushchev's ambitions in the Middle East. This makes is difficult to judge why Nasser adopted a somewhat more conciliatory attitude towards the United States, an attitude that itself played into the re-appraisal of US foreign policy in the final years of the Eisenhower Administration. I also kept wondering, as I read the book, what role the Israelis played in the evolution of US policy: this angle is also left largely unexplored.
In the introduction and the conclusion, Yaqub tackles the deeper reasons for US-Arab antagonism. He sees no ground for the "conflict of civilizations" thesis; for him, the Americans and the Arabs share the same set of values, it is their interests that do not coincide. The clash of interests - not a clash of values - underpinned US disagreements with Nasser and other regional players in the 1950s. This analysis, however, raises the question of where broader imperatives of ideology, for the Americans or for the Arabs, may have conditioned perceptions of interest, and if they did, what is the relationship between value systems and ideologies. Exploring this relationship will help us understand why US-Arab antagonism has come so far as to sustain the prevailing perception that we are faced, in fact, with a clash of civilizations.
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