Drawing on extensive new material, including declassified government records, private papers, and personal interviews, America's Great Game shows how three well-intentioned spies inadvertently ruptured relations between America and the Arab world.
In 1956 President Nasser of Egypt moved to take possession of the Suez Canal, thereby bringing the Middle East to the brink of war. The British and the French, who operated the canal, joined with Israel in a plan to retake it by force. Despite the special relationship between England and America, Dwight Eisenhower intervened to stop the invasion.
In Ike’s Gamble, Michael Doran shows how Nasser played the US, invoking America’s opposition to European colonialism to drive a wedge between Eisenhower and two British Prime Ministers, Winston Churchill and Anthony Eden. Meanwhile, in his quest to make himself the strongman of the Arab world, Nasser was making weapons deals with the USSR and destabilizing other Arab countries that the US had been courting. The Suez Crisis was his crowning triumph. In time, Eisenhower would conclude that Nasser had duped him, that the Arab countries were too fractious to anchor America’s interests in the Middle East, and that the US should turn instead to Israel.
Affording deep insight into Eisenhower and his foreign policy, this fascinating and provocative history provides a rich new understanding of how the US became the power broker in the Middle East.
The Arab Spring, Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the Iraq war, and the Syrian civil war—these contemporary conflicts have deep roots in the Middle East’s postwar emergence from colonialism.
In The Pragmatic Superpower, foreign policy experts Ray Takeyh and Steven Simon reframe the legacy of U.S. involvement in the Arab world from 1945 to 1991 and shed new light on the makings of the contemporary Middle East. Cutting against conventional wisdom, the authors argue that, when an inexperienced Washington entered the turbulent world of Middle Eastern politics, it succeeded through hardheaded pragmatism—and secured its place as a global superpower.
Eyes ever on its global conflict with the Soviet Union, America shrewdly navigated the rise of Arab nationalism, the founding of Israel, and seminal conflicts including the Suez War and the Iranian revolution. Takeyh and Simon reveal that America’s objectives in the region were often uncomplicated but hardly modest. Washington deployed adroit diplomacy to prevent Soviet infiltration of the region, preserve access to its considerable petroleum resources, and resolve the conflict between a Jewish homeland and the Arab states that opposed it.
The Pragmatic Superpower provides fascinating insight into Washington’s maneuvers in a contest for global power and offers a unique reassessment of America’s cold war policies in a critical region of the world. Amid the chaotic conditions of the twenty-first century, Takeyh and Simon argue that there is an urgent need to look back to a period when the United States got it right. Only then will we better understand the challenges we face today.