Global America: Imposing Liberalism on a Recalcitrant World

By David Mosler; Bob Catley | Go to book overview

4
U.S. Policy in the Middle East

The Middle East was under the control of the Ottoman Empire until its defeat by the British and French forces and their allies in the First World War. This mostly Arab-populated and Islamic region was then divided into British and French spheres of influence. These two powers, acting ostensibly through the League of Nations, redrew the political map of the region to correspond to their own interests, rewarding their allies, punishing their opponents, and ensuring their access to oil as it became the most important commercial opportunity in the area. The French created the--at first--Christian-dominated Lebanon out of the Syrian mandate, thereby ensuring that Damascus would harbour irredentist claims to it. The British installed their various First World War dynastic allies into ruling houses in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and the smaller oil-rich states of the Gulf. Zionist Jews defied the British authorities to settle in the Palestinian mandate and then forcefully created the state of Israel in 1948.

The United States progressively replaced the British and the French as the dominant external power in the region after the Second World War. It did this in pursuit of oil, as its companies superseded those from Europe and began to control the production and distribution of the vital energy source. From the late 1950s on, the United States also emerged as the principal external guarantor of Israeli security against the surrounding Arab states. The U.S. military and political role in the Middle East progressively expanded, until by the 1990s its power in the region was hegemonic. By that time, the key U.S. interest in the region was the flow of oil through the sea lanes of the Persian Gulf.

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Global America: Imposing Liberalism on a Recalcitrant World
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Abbreviations and Acronyms vii
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Preface xiii
  • 1 - Considerations of American Power 1
  • 2 - Popular Culture, Corporate Power, Imperial State 31
  • 3 - Domestic Constraints on American Power 61
  • 4 - U.S. Policy in the Middle East 83
  • 5 - Policy in Europe 95
  • 6 - U.S. Policy in the Asia Pacific 123
  • 7 - Challenges to U.S. Hegemony 153
  • 8 - Prospects for the Twenty-First Century 181
  • Bibliography 213
  • Index 216
  • About the Authors 226
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