Middle East Policy

After World War II the United States emerged as the major power in the Middle East. Petroleum, an important ingredient in the Allies’ military success in World War II, continued to fuel post-war American prosperity. Consequently, United States policy makers realized that the oil rich region generally known as the “Middle East” or “Near East” held vital interests which required protection from the USSR and other hostile elements in the area.

“As the United States involved itself more deeply in Middle Eastern affairs, however, it encountered many complications of which maneuvering by the USSR were only one. The increased involvement of the United States in the Middle East coincided with the emergence of Arab nations as independent entities and the establishment of the state of Israel. These factors virtually guaranteed conflicts and misunderstandings. Not only did the United States find itself at odds with major Arab states on questions involving Israel or on perceptions of the Soviet Union, but other factors also worked to create friction. In summary, the United States encountered a culture in the Arab nations with sharply differing views of the world, based on different social mores, ethics, and psychological characteristics.
  1. Documents