Seven Fallen Pillars: The Middle East, 1945-1952

Seven Fallen Pillars: The Middle East, 1945-1952

Seven Fallen Pillars: The Middle East, 1945-1952

Seven Fallen Pillars: The Middle East, 1945-1952

Excerpt

The Middle East is becoming an American, rather than a British, headache. Slowly and surely British influence is declining. Inevitably the Americans must take their place. And the great question mark is: Can American capitalism embark in this area on a progressive social policy which alone can bring political stability? And can it find willing allies among the local peoples in that policy's pursuit?

It is quite certain that it cannot, unless Americans are willing to study the lessons of the past and profit from the mistakes which the British have made. And to trace how, often with the highest motives, the British went wrong, is the main purpose of this book.

The political plight of the Middle East in the years following the second world war derived largely from the peculiar development of Anglo-American relations in Palestine, Persia and the Arab States during the last thirty years. The nature of this relationship was characteristically displayed when the Americans, at the end of 1951, picked the Persian Premier Mossadeq as "the Man of the Year", and the British selected him as their choice for "the joke of the Year".

For thirty years the British and Americans have been unable to hit off a common approach to the Middle East; there was at times rivalry or competition between the two countries particularly over the control of Mesopotamian, Persian Gulf and Arabian oil; but that was not the essence of Anglo-American relations in the Middle East. The dominant feature of these thirty years was that the British and Americans were almost always at cross-purposes over their Grand Strategy in the Middle East.

In the early twenties American intervention in the Middle East was primarily in support of the rights of American oil companies. Thus Harold Nicolson has noted in his account of the Lausanne Conference of 1924 that the American "observer" at the Conference, Richard Washburn Child "was typically American in his conviction that the whole Lausanne Conference was a plot on the part of the Old Diplomacy to deprive American corn-

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