The United States, Great Britain, and Egypt, 1945-1956: Strategy and Diplomacy in the Early Cold War

The United States, Great Britain, and Egypt, 1945-1956: Strategy and Diplomacy in the Early Cold War

The United States, Great Britain, and Egypt, 1945-1956: Strategy and Diplomacy in the Early Cold War

The United States, Great Britain, and Egypt, 1945-1956: Strategy and Diplomacy in the Early Cold War

Synopsis

Egypt figured prominently in United States policy in the Middle East after World War II because of its strategic, political, and economic importance. Peter Hahn explores the triangular relationship between the United States, Great Britain, and Egypt in order to analyze the justifications and implications of American policy in the region and within the context of a broader Cold War strategy.

This work is the first comprehensive scholarly account of relations between those countries during this period. Hahn shows how the United States sought to establish stability in Egypt and the Middle East to preserve Western interests, deny the resources of the region to the Soviet Union, and prevent the outbreak of war. He demonstrates that American officials' desire to recognize Egyptian nationalistic aspirations was constrained by their strategic imperatives in the Middle East and by the demands of the Anglo-American alliance.

Using many recently declassified American and British political and military documents, Hahn offers a comprehensive view of the intricacies of alliance diplomacy and multilateral relations. He sketches the United States' growing involvement in Egyptian affairs and its accumulation of commitments to Middle East security and stability and shows that these events paralleled the decline of British influence in the region.

Hahn identifies the individuals and agencies that formulated American policy toward Egypt and discusses the influence of domestic and international issues on the direction of policy. He also explains and analyzes the tactics devised by American officials to advance their interests in Egypt, judging their soundness and success.

Excerpt

This book explores and analyzes American policy toward Egypt between 1945 and 1956. It examines the strategic, political, and economic interests and imperatives that guided American officials who shaped policy toward Egypt and identifies the specific objectives they defined, the dilemmas produced by conflicts between these objectives, and how those dilemmas were resolved. The circumstances, motivations, and interests that determined American policy toward a significant Middle East country in the immediate postwar period are the focus of the analysis.

American policy toward Egypt was formulated in the context of a broad effort to establish stability in the Middle East, which United States officials defined as the region being at peace, governed by leaders friendly to the West, open to American economic opportunities, and free from Soviet influence. Stability seemed the best way to preserve American interests in the region and around the world and to avoid another world war. It would secure the resources and facilities of the region for the use of the Western powers in containing Soviet influence in peace and defeating Soviet power in war. Maintenance of stability was the sine qua non of American postwar policy in the Middle East.

Immediately following World War II, conditions in the Middle East seemed unfavorable to the attainment of stability. Indigenous nationalistic aspirations for independence clashed with the desires of the traditionally imperialist powers, Great Britain and France, to maintain their colonial empires in the region. Corrupt and undemocratic local governments generated political unrest that portended revolution. The question of sovereignty in Palestine spawned tension and perpetual violence within the region. Economic underdevelopment and restrictive commercial systems produced poverty and social discontent that seemed to render the area vulnerable to the influence of communism or other extremist doctrines. Apparent Soviet political expansionism raised the specter of communist influence penetrating the region and denying its facilities and resources to the Western powers. These destabilizing factors were interdependent and mutually reinforcing, and they . . .

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