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Kennedy and the Middle East

Kennedy and the Middle East - Antonio Perra

Kennedy and the Middle East

At the height of the Cold War, the John F. Kennedy administration designed an ambitious plan for the Middle East-its aim was to seek rapprochement with Nasser's Egypt in order to keep the Arab world neutral and contain the perceived communist threat. In order to offset this approach, Kennedy sought to grow relations with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and embrace Israel's defense priorities-a decision which would begin the US-Israeli 'special relationship'. Here, Antonio Perra shows for the first time how new relations with Saudi Arabia and Israel which would come to shape the Middle East for decades were in fact a by-product of Kennedy's efforts at Soviet containment. The Saudi's in particular were increasingly viewed as 'an atavistic regime who would soon disappear' but Kennedy's support for them-which hardened during the Yemen Crisis even as he sought to placate Nasser-had the unintended effect of making them, as today, the US' great pillar of support in the Middle East.
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At the height of the Cold War, the John F. Kennedy administration designed an ambitious plan for the Middle East-its aim was to seek rapprochement with Nasser's Egypt in order to keep the Arab world neutral and contain the perceived communist threat. In order to offset this approach, Kennedy sought to grow relations with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and embrace Israel's defense priorities-a decision which would begin the US-Israeli 'special relationship'. Here, Antonio Perra shows for the first time how new relations with Saudi Arabia and Israel which would come to shape the Middle East for decades were in fact a by-product of Kennedy's efforts at Soviet containment. The Saudi's in particular were increasingly viewed as 'an atavistic regime who would soon disappear' but Kennedy's support for them-which hardened during the Yemen Crisis even as he sought to placate Nasser-had the unintended effect of making them, as today, the US' great pillar of support in the Middle East.
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