Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Egypt:US

 

Synopsis –

__________________________________________________________________The relationship between the United States and Egypt has always been turbulent, as the US had been drawn towards not just Egypt but the entire Middle East due to geopolitical reasons such as the Cold War, Zionism, Energy Politics, Imperialism, Nationalism, Radicalism and Terrorism. Furthermore, I contend the US, reluctantly, has transformed itself from a Constitutional Democratic Republic with a non-interventionist foreign policy, into an aggressive Imperial Superpower that was reflected in their dealings with Egypt.

Due to the long complex history of US-Egyptian relations, it is impossible to offer an in-depth analysis of the all the issues that transpired over time. Therefore I will be chronologically focusing on the pivotal moments between the two nations, which will be in the form of US reactions to the Cold War, Zionism, and the handling of Egyptian sovereignty. In order to analysis this thesis, I will be separating my essay into three parts; firstly, the rise of Nasserism, the Suez Crisis and the JFK opportunity of peace. Secondly, the Sadat Presidency along with the Yom Kippur War. Finally, I will be analyzing the monumental change within international relations that saw the end of the Cold War and the rise of Islamic Terrorism.

_________________________________________________________________

Introduction –          

The evolution of the US-Egyptian relationship can be understood, strangely, by focusing on the Cold War. This may appear misdirected, but as I will demonstrate it was this conflict that dictated nearly every decision US foreign policy made during the 20th Century, including Egypt and the strategic value of Zionism.

The Pivotal Truman Presidency

The catalyst that set the course for the United States to ultimately transform itself into a Hyperpower, can be traced back to the Truman Administration. It was during the pivotal days of the intermediate period between the end of WWII and the Cold War, which saw President Truman determine on what the US anti-Communist strategy would be and the creation of Israel. These two key decisions determined the framework how US policy-making would affect Egyptian relations over the next five decades.

In regards to anti-communism, it was the Truman Doctrine, which was inspired by the advice from the National Security Council Report 68 (NSC-68) that advanced the policy of ‘Containment’. According to the report, the Kremlin harbored world domination and the local base for it was Moscow.[1] The overall policy was to design a world environment which the American system could flourish and therefore, in the

bi-polarized world, development of an international community was demanded.[2] The policy of ‘containment’ seeks to block further soviet expansion, expose the falsities of communism, induce a retraction of the Kremlin’s global influence and create a situation which the USSRMoscow would modify its behavior to Western standards.[3] It was due to these goals that the US found itself across the global, specifically with Egyptian internal affairs.

The other issue that saw Truman affect Egyptian destiny, was his support for the creation of Israel. It was his Christian fundamentalism that made him sympathetic to Zionism, believing that Palestine was destined to be the Jewish homeland.[4]Moreover, he never sought to educate himself on the perspective of the Arab world. Also, it was the domestic political climate that affected his decision-making, with the perception that US Jews favored a Jewish State in Palestine and therefore was vital in his re-election prospects.[5] These circumstance affected the way he supported Israel’s creation, which saw him not only refuse to consult the Arab states beforehand, but also fail to heed the warnings of his own State Department.[6] It was these factors that made Truman’s approach to Zionism, with exception of Eisenhower, the precedent that has rarely been departed from.[7]

The Age of Nasser

Despite friendly beginnings, US-Egyptian relations quickly deteriorated by late 1954 with the ascension of Nasser to power, along with his own worldview being the combination of socialism, republicanism, nationalism, secularism, anti-imperialism, anti-Zionism and pan-Arabism.[8]What he intended to do was the steer a neutral course between the global capitalist and socialist blocs.[9] Nasser maintained a constant state of hatred and tension toward Israel; insisted on heavy armaments Egypt neither needed nor could afford and which Egyptians lacks the skill and morale to use, he insisted on demonstrating his independence of the West by constant attacks on Israel and the US.[10] It was due to these circumstances, within the context of the Cold War, which drew the United States into the affairs of the Middle East.

When the Eisenhower Presidency came to power, he inherited from the previous Truman Administration, an intensified Cold War, the hot Arab-Israeli issue and Pan-Arabism. Under the advice of the Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, it was learnt that the US suffered from being linked with British and French imperialism and with a blind support for Israel.[11] Although Eisenhower was also troubled by the depth of animosity towards the US among the populations of the Third World, by having the knowledge of how Egyptians saw them, they initially took a subtle approach to Egyptian affairs. The reason as to why the US was able to take this approach, was due to the fact that it still held the principals of isolationist-nationalism to a high regard and did not want to be associated with the Old World imperialism and Realpolitik of the British Empire. The US needed to strike a balance between not appearing imperialist but at the same time trying to keep Egypt from being seduced by the Soviet embrace. This became apparent in how the United States approached the Suez Crisis.

The Suez Crisis

The Crisis occurred as a reaction to Egyptian resistance to British imperialism when the British shifted Iraqi troops to Jordan where they were used to prevent a pro-Nasser and anti-British outcome of the Jordanian 1956 election.[12] Nasser responded by suddenly nationalizing the Suez Canal Company and thus found the revenue to finance his nation-building schemes, such as the High Dam.[13] The threat of Nasserism terrified the British establishment, as they feared that it could inspire other Third World nations, like India, to rebel against their rule also. Israel in particular wanted to see Nasser stopped, as he seemed the most credible and immediate threat to Israeli national security.[14] Secondly, by draining Western Europe of its access to oil, it put them at risk of Soviet oppression. It was the ladder that actually concerned the US Government, as Nasser’s actions destabilized of their allies against communism. However, what further alarmed Eisenhower was that that Egypt did not share their fear of the USSR. When Dulles told Nasser that the Soviet Union sought world domination and urged Nasser to make a deal with the British and join the West against Eastern Europe, the response he received was that the Arab world was more fearful of British domination and Zionism than Communism. What this exchanged reveals is that the US believed that the fear of communism was universal and when they were confronted with the notion of ‘positive neutralism’, the US struggled to accept the fact that other nations refused to align themselves with neither of the global superpowers.[15] I would argue that it was at this point in time where the urge to expand along with the mantra of ‘with us, or against us’ began to creep into the psyche of the United States.

Nevertheless, the US recognized its interest in having another ally besides Israel within the Middle East. However, in remembering that the Egyptians did not distinguish the US from the British, it hoped to woo Nasser into an alliance against international communism by refusing to aid the British, French and Israel during the Suez Crisis and forced them to withdraw via the United Nations. Although, the Crisis made Eisenhower emphasize US commitment to anti-colonialism, but he also made US denounce ‘revolutionary nationalism’. After consulting NATO, Dulles returned to America to regard Nasser as ‘an evil influence’ and held an ideology that threatened Western domination throughout the Middle East.[16] These fears were further inflamed when Nasser rejected the Eisenhower Doctrine when he stated that ‘there was no danger from Soviet aggression and that the real target of the US was not international communism, but Arab nationalism.’[17] The reaction within the US State Department was that there was ample evidence of communist infiltration of the Middle East and that Nasserism was deluding the Arab people by saying otherwise and his radical nationalism would eventually lead to a loss of independence and a dependence on Communism.[18] Another aspect of Nasserism that concerned the US was that pan-Arabism was gaining traction within Syria. The paranoia of communism infiltrating the Middle East was increased by the fact that the rising anti-American Ba’ath Party praised Nasser by it motto ‘Unity, Socialism and Freedom’ and openly promoted closer ties to the Kremlin.[19] By 1958 Nasser sought a Syrian-Egyptian confederation, later known as the United Arab Republic (UAR). Despite the ill feelings towards Nasser, the Eisenhower Administration did recognize the UAR as it was seen that communism within the region could be eliminated.[20] The relationship did further improve, especially when Nasser condemned the Kremlin for injecting itself into the affairs of Iraq and then jailed Egyptian communists in early 1959.[21]

A Chance for Peace

Another major pivotal moment in American-Egyptian relations came with election of JFK, which gave Nasser renewed hope of reaching a genuine understanding with Washington.[22] Being of a younger generation, Kennedy brought a new perceptive to the diplomatic-table. While being a Cold War Warrior, Kennedy was reluctant to see world politics exclusively through the prism of Soviet-American relations.[23] He had no doubt about the value to the US of neutralist support in the ideological battle with the Soviet Union.[24] However, the abrupt end to JFK’s presidency did not see success for his new approach and when the ‘Kennedy experiment’ in diplomacy was over, the US quickly reverted back to the ‘with us, or against us’ mentality.

The Six Day War

The relationship between the US and Egypt further suffered in relation to the rise of Zionism. With the exception to Eisenhower not coming to Israel’s aid during the Suez Crisis, the overall relationship between the two nations had grown to almost being symbiotic. By 1967 with Israel’s growing intention of using nuclear weaponry, the United States wanted to avoid a Middle Eastern Nuclear Arms Race. Although Lyndon Johnson was willing to given them offensive conventional weaponry, Israel did not halt its nuclear program. Egypt was aware of this build-up and sought weaponry from the Soviet Union. This situation was exactly what US dreaded – Egypt finding support in the Sovietism. According to the US, if Egypt with the backing of the Soviet Union succeeded in their quest of conquering Israel, a nation that was largely seen to be a US proxy, the United States suffer a tremendous blow to their international prestige. Unfortunately, Nasser also received faulty Soviet intelligence reports, stating that Israel was about to attack and thus Egypt prepared to attack.[25] It was under these circumstances, LBJ green-lighted Israel to pre-emptively invade Egypt. The war itself was short and brutal, with the backing of US assistance Israel won the war against Egypt with six days. The aftermath of the war was Israel experiencing unseen euphoria in its victory. But in regards to Egypt, this defeat essentially signified the end of Nasser. His prestige and influence never recovered from such a monumental failure and his dream of an Egypt being strong and free was now considered to be unattainable. Although he still remained in power, it was only for another three years, as he died of a cardiac arrest in 1970.

 A New Era for Egypt

As unfortunate as Nasser’s death may have been, it provided an opportunity for Egypt in the form of Anwar El-Sadat in attaining the Egyptian Presidency, which brought in a refinement of ‘Nasserism’ with his ‘Corrective Revolution’ and his Infitah economics. Sadat represented another watershed moment in Egyptian-US relations, as the new Egyptian President proved to eventually be open to reform.

The difference between Sadat and Nasser was that astonishing, and it transformed the course of Egyptian history.[26] Once Sadat settled in office, the US, now under the Nixon Administration, initiated a new diplomatic offensive. Even Israel also offered to renew negotiations.[27] This was possible due to the circumstance during this time had changed greatly, not just due to the shift of government within Egypt, but in America as well. Due to the unwinnable Vietnam War, Nixon had adopted the policy of détente, where the US had rethought entering international disputes due to the Cold War and therefore was applied towards the Middle East conflict. I would argue that this newfound tactic had echoed the days of isolationism with an attempt to scale back to what was now an American Empire. Within these discussions it was reported that Israel agreed to withdraw from Egyptian territory and Egypt was to make peace with Israel and guarantee her territory integrity and political sovereignty.[28] Although Sadat regarded Israel as an imperialist state intent on expanding, he nerveless proved willing to meet pre-conditions.[29] However, the shame of the massive defeat hanged over Egypt and a longing to regain its lost territory was still alive and when Israel refused to withdraw to their pre-war borders, talks of peace quickly imploded and Egypt reverted back to the status quo of the Egyptian-Israeli relations which existed in the days of Nasser.[30] US Secretary Rogers wanted to broker a peace agreement to end the conflict in the Middle East and together with USSR intended to seek ‘balanced policy’ between Egyptian and Israel.[31] However, NSA Director Kissinger disagreed with this strategy because any settlement reached with Moscow’s blessing would give open recognition to the Soviet claims on the region. Kissinger therefore advocated continuing the Arab-Zionist stalemates, so the USSR would be unable to assert its gaols and thus would force the Arab world to turn to the US to act as a mediator and therefore would weaken the USSR influence in Egypt.[32]

Carter’s Camp David Accords

Although the Roger’s Plan was initially discarded, I would argue that it provided a blueprint for President Carter to use in his attempt to bring peace to the Middle East. Although mistrust and hate ruled over the relationship between Israel and Egypt, Sadat took the first steps towards peace in 1977 by making his historic visit to Israel.[33] Echoing the Roger’s Plan, Carter took this opportunity to mediate peace-talks between the two nations. Unlike Truman, Carter possessed detail knowledge of the region and used this knowledge to help draft an agreement.[34] Taken up the role of ‘honest negotiator’ he succussed in having Egypt recognize Israel and have Israel withdraw from previously owned Egyptian Territory. Furthermore, Carter also accomplished having Israel consider the abolishment of their Settlements.[35] Despite Sadat’s attempt to achieve peace, it was perceived by his country’s Muslim Brotherhood and leftists as abandoning the notion of a Palestinian State and was later assassinated.[36]

The End of the Cold War and the Dawning of the War on Terror

A monumental shift occurred in international relations itself with the fall of the Soviet Union. What this signified to America was it apparently achieved ‘the end of history’. Without the USSR to offer the world an alternative to Western principals, the world shifted into a unipolar world. It also offered the US an occasion to return to its isolationist-republican roots. However, instead of reverting back to its ideological origins, the US evolved further, going from a World Hegemon into a Hyperpower. What being a Hyperpower means, that the US believes itself to be ‘exceptional’; it therefore declares itself to be above diplomacy and international law and is allowed to initiate pre-emptive strikes and warfare, if it decides to do so. It also reserves the right to impose its will upon Middle Powers via asymmetrical means, such as colour revolutions in order to enact regime change.

The 9/11 Terrorist Attacks ushered in a new chapter in American foreign policy, where Hyperpower-America was revealed to the world under the neoconservative Bush Doctrine. In the fight against international terrorism, it advocated pre-emptive warfare, unilateralism and military hegemony.[37] Ironically, the War on Terror has the US simply following the Cold War precedent of expansion and geo-manipulation of smaller nations, however the difference between the two eras, is that now the United States no longer has another Superpower to act as counterweight, and force its Administrations to consider its actions.

In regards to Egypt, the War on Terror had major implications for its pro-Western President Mubarak, who oversaw a nation with a long history with the terrorist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. While Egypt was willing to support the Bush Administration, it refused to actively invade it regional neighbours. The fact that the US then preceded to do whatever it felt necessary, showed that Egypt had no influence in it relationship with the US Hyperower. However, when his people eventually rebelled against him in 2011, which resulted in a coup d’état with the militarist Muslim Brotherhood coming to power, the Obama Administration declared that the US did not consider the new government to be ally or enemy.[38] However, I would think that the US is concerned with the Brotherhood’s aggressive attitude towards Israel. This shows, once again, United States support for Zionism has drew it back into Middle Eastern affairs. Furthermore, Obama’s words demonstrate that the US doesn’t really care about terrorism, as long as the Egyptian Government is able to foster a workable relationship with the United States. Allies such as Mubarak are ultimately expendable, as long as the Egyptian government does not threaten US interests or domination within the region.

Conclusion –                                                        

In conclusion, it appears that the true narrative of US-Middle Eastern politics is based on fighting international threats, such as the Cold War and Terrorism, with Arab nationalism and Zionism being only a secondary concern. By doing so, the US has evolved from being a isolationist nation, into a superpower, to a global hegemon and finally a unrestrained Hyperpower. Although it had an opportunity to return to its isolationist roots when it achieved its unipolar moment, the US decided to pursue the role of ‘Global Policemen’ the perceived threats to world peace. Until the US realizes the concept of unintended consequences, it will forever be involved in the affairs of others.

Bibliography –

Anonymous (1981) Anwar Sadat’s Legacy, The New Republic, Vol.185, No.4

Anonymous (1950) A Report to the National Security Council – NSC 68, Truman Library, United States

Anonymous “Obama: Egypt is not US ally, nor an enemy.” BBC, Sept 13 2012, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-19584265

Bernstein, A (2007) Six Days in June, Ilan Ziv, United States

Boaz, V (2011) The White House Middle East Policy in 1973 as a Catalyst for the Outbreak of the Yom Kippur War, Israel Studies, Vol. 16. No.1.

Bosch, A (2006) American Experience: Jimmy Carter, Public Broadcasting Service, United States

Bryson, A, T (1977) American Diplomatic Relations with the Middle East 1984- 1975: A Survey, The Scarecrow Press Inc., United States

Freedman, O, R (1993) The Middle East after Iraq’s Invasion of Kuwait, University Press of Florida, United States, Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 39. No. 4

Hahn, P (2005) Crisis and Crossfire: The United States and the Middle East since 1945, Potomac Books Inc., United States

Hurewitz, C, J (1953) Middle East Dilemmas, Russell & Russell, Council of Foreign Relations Inc., United States

Kamrava, M (2005) The Modern Middle East, University of California Press, United States

Kuznick, P (2012) The Untold History of the United States, Ebury Press, United States

Lawrence, D (2010) Truman and Political and the Establishment of Israel, Journal of Palestine Studies, United States

Leffler, P, M (2005) 9/11 and American Foreign Policy, The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, Vol. 29, No. 3.

Lenczowski, G (1965) The Objectives and Methods of Nasserism, Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 1. No. 19.

Lenczowski, G (1990) American Presidents and the Middle East, Duke University Press, United Kingdom

Little, D (2002) American Orientalism: The United States and the Middle East since 1945, The University of North Carolina Press, United States

Nutting, A (1972) Nasser, E.P.Dutton & Co, United States

Quigley, C (1966) Tragedy & Hope: A History of the World in Our Time, The Macmillan Company, United States

Schlesinger Jr., M, A (1965) A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House, First Mariner, United States

[1] A Report to the National Security Council – NSC 68, Truman Library, p.13.

[2] A Report to the National Security Council – NSC 68, Truman Library, p.21.

[3] A Report to the National Security Council – NSC 68, Truman Library, p.21.

[4] Davidson Lawrence, (2010) Truman and Political and the Establishment of Israel, Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 39. No.4. p.32.

[5] Davidson Lawrence, (2010) Truman and Political and the Establishment of Israel, Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 39. No.4. p.30.

[6] Davidson Lawrence, (2010) Truman and Political and the Establishment of Israel, Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 39. No.4. 31.

[7] Davidson Lawrence, (2010) Truman and Political and the Establishment of Israel, Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 39. No.4. 40.

[8] George Lenczowski, (1965) The Objectives and Methods of Nasserism, Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 1. No. 19. p.64.

[9] Peter Kuznick, The Untold History of the United States (Ebury Press, 2012), p.257.

[10] Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope (The Macmillan Company, 1966), p.1075.

[11] Peter Kuznick, The Untold History of the United States (Ebury Press, 2012), p.257.

[12] Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope (The Macmillan Company, 1966), p.1076.

[13] Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope (The Macmillan Company, 1966), p.1076.

[14] Mehran Kamrava, The Modern Middle East (University of California Press, 2005) p. 95.

[15] Mehran Kamrava, The Modern Middle East (University of California Press, 2005) p. 94.

[16] Douglas Little, American Orientalism: The United States and the Middle East since 1945, (The University of North Carolina Press, 2002), p.181.

[17] Douglas Little, American Orientalism: The United States and the Middle East since 1945, (The University of North Carolina Press, 2002), p.181.

[18] Douglas Little, American Orientalism: The United States and the Middle East since 1945, (The University of North Carolina Press, 2002), p.181.

[19] Douglas Little, American Orientalism: The United States and the Middle East since 1945, (The University of North Carolina Press, 2002), p.182.

[20] Douglas Little, American Orientalism: The United States and the Middle East since 1945, (The University of North Carolina Press, 2002), p.182.

[21] Douglas Little, American Orientalism: The United States and the Middle East since 1945, (The University of North Carolina Press, 2002), p.182.

[22] Anthony Nutting, Nasser, E.P.Dutton & Co, 1972) p.271

[23] George Lenczowski, American Presidents and the Middle East, Duke University Press, 1990) p. 68.

[24] Arthur. M. Schlesinger Jr., A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House, (First Mariner, 1965), p.518.

[25] Levi Bernstein (2007) Six Days in June, Ilan Ziv, United States

[26] Anonymous (1981) Anwar Sadat’s Legacy, The New Republic, Vol.185, No.4. p.7

[27] Thomas, A, Bryson, A, T (1977) American Diplomatic Relations with the Middle East 1984- 1975, (The Scarecrow Press Inc., 1977) p, 255

[28] Thomas, A, Bryson, A, T (1977) American Diplomatic Relations with the Middle East 1984- 1975, (The Scarecrow Press Inc., 1977) p, 255

[29] Thomas, A, Bryson, A, T (1977) American Diplomatic Relations with the Middle East 1984- 1975, (The Scarecrow Press Inc., 1977) p, 255

[30] Vanetik Boaz (2011) The White House Middle East Policy in 1973 as a Catalyst for the Outbreak of the Yom Kippur War, Israel Studies, Vol. 16. No.1. p. 54.

[31] Vanetik Boaz (2011) The White House Middle East Policy in 1973 as a Catalyst for the Outbreak of the Yom Kippur War, Israel Studies, Vol. 16. No.1. p. 55.

[32] Vanetik Boaz (2011) The White House Middle East Policy in 1973 as a Catalyst for the Outbreak of the Yom Kippur War, Israel Studies, Vol. 16. No.1. p. 55.

[33] Adriana Bosch (2006) American Experience: Jimmy Carter, PBS, United States

[34] Adriana Bosch (2006) American Experience: Jimmy Carter, PBS, United States

[35] Adriana Bosch (2006) American Experience: Jimmy Carter, PBS, United States

[36] Adriana Bosch (2006) American Experience: Jimmy Carter, PBS, United States

[37] Melvyn, P, Leffler (2005) 9/11 and American Foreign Policy, The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, Vol. 29, No. 3. p.396.

[38] Anonymous, “Obama: Egypt is not US ally, nor an enemy.” BBC, Sept 13 2012, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-19584265

Recommended Viewing – 

Ron Paul Courageously Speaks the Truth

Ron Paul Educates McCain

Ron Paul Vs. Rick Santorum on Iran, Santorum Self destructs

Ron Paul Vs Michelle Bachmann on Iran

Advertisements