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America’s Confrontation with Revolutionary Change in the by William Stivers

By William Stivers

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Additional info for America’s Confrontation with Revolutionary Change in the Middle East, 1948–83

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13 The President's efforts to woo Nasser were more serious business than his tentative moves on behalf of the refugees. Kennedy was determined not to let the Soviet Union gain influence in the Third World through American default. In Kennedy's eyes, rapprochement with Nasser was important not only in terms of the Western position in the Middle East, but also in terms of a global political balance in which Third World nations would carry the deciding weight. Kennedy launched his campaign to win over Nasser by appointing an Ambassador to Egypt, Dr John Badeau, former President of the American University in Cairo, who had lived in Arab countries for roughly thirty years.

3 Kennedy was particularly severe in his criticisms of Eisenhower's Middle East policy. 4 Repressive measures 'had only fanned the flames of discontent, and the close ties between this nation ... 5 Moreover, US policy makers had in Kennedy's view made a big mistake in dealing with the Middle East in the context of East - West struggle. The real issues there were nationalism, economic development, the Arab refugees and local political instabilities. The Eisenhower Doctrine did nothing to address these problems.

The president proceeded to expand on the secretary's assessment. Ultimately, the Western positions could not be held 'against the underlying and often unthinking convictions of the Arab world'. 37 He offered no ideas on how to do this. THE SUEZ CONUNDRUM In view of the antinationalist sentiment - really a fear of change - that motivated his actions in Iran and Lebanon, Eisenhower's behaviour America Moves into the Middle East 23 during the Suez crisis presents a stark anomaly. For instead of siding with Israel, Britain and France to strike Nasser down, he opposed their use of force and pressured them to withdraw from Egyptian territory they had captured in Sinai and at the mouth of the canal.

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