Cold War Extension: Political Change in the Middle East
Europe began to lose its immediate salience as a theater for competitive superpower intervention toward the end of the 1950s. The East to West relationship, which had in the early phases been fluid and highly unstable, became in time institutionalized and predictable, as ground rules of permissible great power behavior developed. Through a sequence of events, spheres of influence and geopolitical areas allocated to the United States and the Soviet Union, respectively, had become rather well defined. The boundaries were understood. Balance of power in a strategic sense was clear, with the NATO and Warsaw Pact military alliances in place; asymmetric high interest intervention arenas were carved out. Marshall Plan assistance provided by the United States for European recovery from World War II was making its mark, and the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 had been crushed by the Soviet Union. Despite requests for American involvement in the crisis, the United States had taken a nonintervention stand.
The growing awareness of the superpowers about their common stakes in nuclear proliferation and the dangers posed by the balance of terror resulting from U.S. and Soviet military policies also made it clear that the new international context of bipolar confrontation had now been reduced to other conflicts and disputes, which were often characterized by features that were outside standard Cold War issues of contention. Yet a predisposition by the United States and by the Soviet Union to connect all significant global problems to the framework of general ideological conflict meant that many of the disputes occurring in nations beyond the European continent were interpreted in superpower-rivalry terms. Alongside these realities, U.S. strategic involvements between 1945 and the late 1950s had spread out power