Challenging Retrenchment

The United States, Great Britain and the Middle East, 1950-1980

Edited by: Tore T. Petersen

This collection of essays examines the British and American experience in the Middle East from 1950 to 1980. The book compares British and American foreign policy in the Far East and the Persian Gulf, explaining that the Anglo-American relationship was far from harmonious. Both powers tried to manipulate the other to its own advantage. While Washington was clearly the stronger power, London was never reduced to subservience. The book looks at the often neglected role of Egypt's King Farouk, arguing that Egypt was forced to contend with Britain's imperial power, which could, at a few hours notice, overwhelm or undermine Egypt's supposed sovereign institutions. At the same time, however, London was unwilling or unable to prevent Gamal Abdul Nasser and his revolutionary officers from seizing power in 1952. While London perhaps mishandled the transfer of power in Egypt, the book points out how the British managed the transition from being the dominant power in Jordan to preserving a substantial influence, by inviting American participation in securing regime legitimacy. In the end, American dollars supported the Hashemite regime while British influence remained, just as British officials had wished. Challenging Retrenchment argues that, by the mid-1970s, there was an Anglo-American understanding that the Northern Gulf was America's responsibility and that the southern Gulf was Britain's. The book also looks at how intelligence and clandestine operations were used and abused by the British in pursuit of their strategic interests, first somewhat unsuccessfully in Yemen in the 1960s, but with more tangible success in Oman in the 1970s. (Series: ROSTRA Books Trondheim Studies in History - No. 4)

195 pages

Publication Date: 7/31/2010
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9788251925884