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Containing Arab Nationalism: The Eisenhower Doctrine and the Middle East Paperback – Mar 15 2004

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 377 pages
  • Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Pr; 1st New edition edition (March 15 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807855081
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807855089
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 2.5 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 699 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,314,125 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"In laying bare such manifold American dilemmas in the region for the pivotal years of 1957 and 1958, Yaqub in a sharp analysis and clear language provides much needed historical contextualizations for problems still haunting the region and the world today."

-- "Australasian Journal of American Studies"

"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.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9c6acef4) out of 5 stars 5 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a070af8) out of 5 stars A Very important insight Nov. 26 2006
By Seth J. Frantzman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In this important work the Eisenhower doctrin of containment in the middle east is finally given a full length book and its place in cold war history is finally made. Eisenhower had a number of Middle Eastern hands around him and like Presidents before and after he cemented his middle east policy on one pillar: Sunni conservatism, which at the time meant Nuri-Al Said, King Hussien, the house of Saud and the Shah of Iran(not a sunni, a nominal shia Persian nationalist). The creation of Nasserism in the early 1950s led Eisenhower to reposition America in the middle East. Before the 1956 Suez crises the United States took a back seat in the Middle East. Nevertheless the idea of the Baghdad pact, a confederation opposing communist ifniltration of the region was essential to U.S policy. Already the U.S had supported Turkey and Greece against Communism and when it seemed that Nasser would accept Khrushchev money to build the Aswan High Dam, Ike saw the danger. After the neo-imperialism of the English and French invasion of Egypt in 1956, Eisenhower took the plunge. He cemented the policy by trying to ally with conservative regimes, not neccesarily democratic but what he and his CIA director Dulles and Kirmet Roosevelt saw as the lesser of two evils.

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
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a070b4c) out of 5 stars A remarkable study Oct. 1 2007
By Lee L. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In "Containing Arab Nationalism," Salim Yaqub provides a remarkably in-depth look at U.S. policy in the Middle East during the mid to late 1950s and how it changed in the aftermath of the Suez Crisis. The main theme explored here deals with the increased level of U.S. influence in the context of the Cold War and how the U.S. reacted to Britain's changing role in the region. The narrative that Yaqub presents shows that the U.S. could not have been more serious about keeping Soviet influence out of the Middle East, but that the Eisenhower administration wasn't always confident in the methods employed to achieve this goal. In the end, the administration adapted its policies in such a way that the Soviets never gained the type of stronghold in the region that the U.S. feared, but Yaqub demonstrates that this was by no means an easy task.

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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a070e28) out of 5 stars Loved the book Nov. 18 2011
By Sergey Radchenko - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In this excellent book, Salim Yaqub, in a manner that is both highly informative and very engaging, discusses US policy towards the Arab world and the Arab responses between roughly late 1956 and late 1958, covering the rise and fall of the "Eisenhower Doctrine." Yaqub shows how the US squandered the reserve of goodwill which it had gained from steadfast opposition to the UK/French/Israeli attack on Egypt during the Suez crisis, by trying to enlist the Arabs in the struggle against the Communist menace in the Middle East. US foreign policy in the hands of ideologues such as John Foster Dulles challenged Nasser's regional ascendancy, yet Washington was too often unable to distinguish between Arab nationalism and Communist subversion. Eisenhower overrated his own ability to "build up" conservative Arab allies like King Saud of Saudi Arabia, and consistently underestimated Nasser's popularity in the Middle East. The policy unraveled, when, faced with increasing regional instability, which climaxed with the Iraqi revolution of July 1958 and the US intervention in Lebanon, Washington at last saw the virtues of engaging with Nasser on his own terms.

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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99a73360) out of 5 stars Historiography Review May 3 2015
By Isaiah Fink - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
When speaking of the clash between the United States and the U.S.S.R. we usually think of the clashes in Europe and Asia. This is rightly so, however Salim Yaqub draws us back into the reality that the Cold War touched more places than Berlin and Hanoi but also Beirut and Baghdad. This brilliant showcase of U.S.-Arab relations enables us to look into a region that is so often misunderstood and see the impact that the Eisenhower administration had on the region at the time and in the decades to follow. Yaqub highlights the shift of influence from the French and British to the Americans. He shows how the Eisenhower administration was seeking to fight communism as best it could and the steps they took to do so. Yaqub does a fantastic job of connecting the dots between policy and outcome. How just one decision made in Syria has had a profound impact on that country even today. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in American policy, history or even current events that pertain to the Middle East.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99a73378) out of 5 stars Good purchase Feb. 6 2012
By ThePrize - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Excellent condition, timely service, good product description. Very happy with the purchase and the service. Wouldn't hesistate to purchase from this seller in the future.