Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The limits of détente: The United States, the Soviet Union, and the Arab-Israeli conflict, 1969–1973
by Daigle, Craig A., Ph.D., The George Washington University, 2008, 420; 3311383
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation argues that the Soviet-American rapprochement, a centerpiece of American foreign policy during the Nixon and Ford presidencies, failed to reach its full potential due to the ongoing competition between Washington and Moscow for control of the Middle East. Despite efforts by both the United States and the Soviet Union to resolve the Arab-Israeli dispute, neither country could forgo its desire to outbid each other for predominance in the region. My chapter "Fighting for Sadat," for example, explores how, in the midst of working towards agreements on trade, the limitation of strategic arms, and the future status of Berlin, both the United States and the Soviet Union exploited the transfer of power in Egypt following the death of President Gamal Abdel Nasser to improve its own strategic position in the region relative to each other.

The dissertation also aims to influence a growing body of work that seeks to explain how the outbreak of the 1973 Arab-Israeli War resulted from policies adopted in both Washington and Moscow as much as it did from the competing interests between Arabs and Israelis. The concluding chapters suggest that in a genuine effort to promote détente and avoid a potential military confrontation in the Middle East, the United States and the Soviet Union accepted agreements in 1972 and 1973 that solidified the status quo in the region rather than promote a lasting Arab-Israeli peace agreement. By effectively telling Arab leaders that Israel would retain possession of their land, the Soviets alienated their clients in the Middle East, and left Egypt and Syria little choice but to resort to war against Israel. By losing its strategic position in the Middle East as a result of these policies, the Soviets were later forced to reassert its military prowess in the region by becoming actively engaged in the Arabian Peninsula, Afghanistan, and the Horn of Africa during the late 1970s and 1980s.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hershberg, James G.
Commitee: Burr, William, Harrison, Hope M., Khoury, Dina R., Yaqub, Salim
School: The George Washington University
Department: History
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 69/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Middle Eastern history, American history, International law, International relations, Russian history
Keywords: American foreign policy, Arab-Israeli conflict, Cold War, Detente, Kissinger, Henry, Nixon administration, Soviet Union, United States, Yom Kippur War
Publication Number: 3311383
ISBN: 978-0-549-62886-6
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