paper3 - American Influence in the Middle East As the...

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American Influence in the Middle East
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As the world’s preeminent super power, the United States has made great efforts to exert its influence and control over most areas of the world. These actions have been motivated by economic interests or to ensure national security. The Middle East is no exception to this trend, as the US made great efforts to contain Soviet expansion in the region, and also worked to preserve its oil interests. Yet, America was more successful in exerting its influence when motivated by protecting the sovereignty of individual nations as opposed to protecting its own oil interests. Following WWII the USSR was no longer entangled in combat and therefore able to focus its energy on its stated ideological goal: instigating a global worker’s revolt. Communist ideology as implemented by the USSR inherently required a state-controlled economy, and without unanimous global support of such a system, capitalist countries would amass capital and military power at a rate that could not be matched by communism. This threat to western capitalism was not taken lightly by the United States; the policy of ‘containment’ became the predominant US policy towards the Soviets from 1948 until the end of the Vietnam War. George Kennan’s containment theory argued that “the main element of any United States policy toward the Soviet Union must be that of long-term, patient but firm and vigilant containment of Russian expansive tendencies”. 1 With the fall of the Ottoman Empire after WWI, its territories splintered into numerous ethnic states without strong militaries as wells as shared borders with the USSR, these countries were ripe for Soviet domination. Soviet military expansion into young countries such as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania confirmed western fear that the Soviets intended to follow through in their 1  (Kennan 1947)
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plan for a global worker’s revolution, and made strides to prevent further expansion. In 1947 President Truman penned what is now known as the Truman Doctrine, declaring that the US would help Turkey and Greece through economic and military aid to prevent them from falling under Soviet control. 2 With the Truman Doctrine, America declared itself willing to provide money and arms, or direct military intervention to countries at the forefront of Soviet expansion. Truman himself said “the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures”. 3 The ‘outside pressures’ Truman refers to are undoubtedly those of the Soviet Union. With the creation of the doctrine on May 22, 1947 the United States granted $400 million in economic and military aid to Turkey and Greece to reconstruct the country. 4
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paper3 - American Influence in the Middle East As the...

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