By William Stivers
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Extra resources for America’s Confrontation with Revolutionary Change in the Middle East, 1948–83
Washington policy makers sought to contain these extremisms through a military presence that they knew would exacerbate hypersensitive nationalisms. To break out of this vicious circle, naval planners sought to diminish US reliance on mainland bases. The 'strategic island' would help compensate for colonial bastions that were now forever lost. 3 Kennedy, the Arabs and the Navy's New Frontier John F. Kennedy and the men around him were keen to face the challenges of the post-colonial era. As a presidential candidate, Kennedy had denounced Eisenhower's supposedly lethargic response to world historical movements in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
It is here that we discover essential formulations and concepts of interest which help explain US actions of the moment. 28 29 The Indian Ocean VIETNAM CAMBODIA \) \ PHI LlPPINES ~MALAYSIA~ Song~O[e ~ INDONESIA,J o COCOS IS MAURITIUS Vr; ~ ~ ~ ... S. Strategy in the Indian Ocean (London and New York: Praeger Publishers, 1977). 30 America and Revolution in the Middle East DECOLONISATION: THE STRATEGIC VIEW Unlike some civilian officials, naval planners were not torn between the desire to curry favour with indigenous nationalisms on the one hand, and strategic imperatives on the other.
In the view of US strategists, it would be just a matter of time before the Soviets 'exhibited' their interest in the Indian Ocean with a naval presence. But Soviet military capabilities were not seen as the major problem. The Soviets would never be able to replicate the imperial experience of the West. Their options were much more limited, but still disturbing. For the very fact of Western imperialism left a legacy of bitterness in the Thirld World. Thus, the The Strategic Formulation 31 economic weakness and political instability of emerging states could offer opportunities for Soviet penetration, 'particularly when accompanied by anti-Western attitudes, as in much of the former or remaining colonial areas'.
America’s Confrontation with Revolutionary Change in the Middle East, 1948–83 by William Stivers