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MidEastMidterm - Gregory Arnold PSC 2478-10 Question#1 By...

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Gregory Arnold PSC 2478-10 3/26/2012 Question #1 By the end of the Second World War, the old imperial order in the Middle East had collapsed, as the traditional powers, Britain and France, were forced to relinquish their control over their mandates in the region . However, the old imperial dreams and glories, although for all intents and purposes dead in the field, they were still savored in the capitals of London and Paris . And while the European powers longed to hold onto whatever traces of power they had left in their former colonies, the new postcolonial states sought to establish their own sovereignty in the new order of the Cold War-world . Into this, new countries and ideologies, like Zionist Israel and Nasserite Egypt, had their own agendas and plans for their country and the region . These contrasts of new and old inevitably led to conflict, and finally culminated into the 1956 Suez Crisis . But what inspired these four countries to act the way they did? And can the crisis be defined and explained by international relations-theory? Indeed, using realist theory, the motives of the European powers, Israel, and the Egyptians, are all readily explainable . The Suez region, made famous by its canal, was an incredibly important geostrategic lynchpin in the region . Egypt had, for centuries before, been used as a point to connect Europe with the wealth of the Orient, and had been warred over several times in the previous 150 years because of this . By the 1860s, the British had established a sphere of influence over Egypt, and used this to, together with France, construct the Suez Canal . For the next almost 100 years, this canal, and all the financial benefits that went with it, was controlled by the European powers . And while this was accepted and enforced while Egypt was ruled over by its British-puppets, the royal family, the Egyptian Revolution in 1952 rapidly changed things . While this was not the
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first time that a pro-European government had been removed in the region; the Free Officers, and in particular Egypt’s leader Gamal Abdel Nasser, promoted anti-colonialism to the official level of state ideology . However, Nasser’s new Republic of Egypt was far from an improvement in the region, as it only served to intensify tensions between the new, pro-Western state of Israel and the anti-Zionist, pro-Palestinian Egypt . It was because of their issues with the West, and their goals of nationalization, that led the seizure of the Suez Canal from its Anglo-French owners and financiers, which thus led to the tripartite intervention in the region . Realism, in the international affairs sense, is an inherent cause for colonialism . As the great powers of Europe were seeking to assert their power and increase their standing over their rivals in the zero-sum game of Imperial Era-geopolitics . And while the empires of old crumbled in the wake of the financial burdens of two world wars, their pieces were still, in the eyes of many Europeans, well worth fighting for
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MidEastMidterm - Gregory Arnold PSC 2478-10 Question#1 By...

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