Unintended Consequences: How the U.S.’s Fear of Socialism Affected Policy Decisions in the Middle East
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No decisions are made in a vacuum, especially in regards to foreign policy. The Cold War mindset permeated every level of politics in the United States, but the question of the unintended consequences of this unwavering diligence to the opposition of international Communism remains. In this paper, I argue that the policies of the Eisenhower administration in the Middle East ignored the regional politics in preference for a simplified “with us or against us” approach. This led to the penetration of Soviet influence into the region as this mindset alienated neutral countries and also set the foundation of the U.S. preference of Israel over nationalist Arab countries. The methods employed were retrospective research and one-on-one interviews conducted in Texas and Amman, Jordan. The retrospective research covers U.S. policy in the Middle East with a focus on Egypt, the leading Arab country at the time, from 1952-1967 to include the ramifications that became manifest after Eisenhower’s term in the White House. This revealed how Eisenhower’s policies intended to contain the U.S.S.R. alienated the neutral country of Egypt and pushed it to the Soviets for assistance. This in turn made Egypt appear more Communist-friendly and thus deserving of estrangement from Western favor and assistance. Instead of addressing the greatest concern for those in the Middle East, the Arab Israeli conflict, the Eisenhower administration instead focused on the overarching Cold War goals and suffered the consequences of losing one side to the Soviets, Egypt and other nationalist Arab countries. Even after the United States stood by Egypt against Israel, Great Britain, and France in the Suez War, Eisenhower did not take advantage of his newfound popularity to push for peace and endear himself to both sides in the conflict but reverted back to policies analogous to those that alienated countries like Egypt in the first place. His overall policy goals for the region caused exactly what those goals intended to prevent. Considering that the U.S. government is currently wrapped up in the overarching foreign policy goal of ending terrorism, it is not unreasonable to speculate that the current policies will have unintended consequences of their own that may ultimately provide more issues for our country in the future.
Clary, Rebecca S (2013). Unintended Consequences: How the U.S.’s Fear of Socialism Affected Policy Decisions in the Middle East. Honors and Undergraduate Research. Available electronically from