The United States of America and the Soviet Union went to history books as two of the major external powers that had significant influence in the Middle East, from the period preceding the end of World War II. US’s and Soviet Union’s influence in the Middle Eastern countries was felt immensely from the second half of the 1950s, after the withdrawal of Britain and France from the region. The Middle East became a crucial venue for the US-Soviet rivalry and competition immediately after the Cold War began (Pipes, 1984). throughout the course of nearly four decades of the Cold War era, international relations were greatly defined by the US-Soviet rivalry and competition in the Middle East (Reich & Gotowicki, 1994). This paper explores the impact of the Soviet and American policies on the Middle East.
The US has been a key player in the Middle East power politics by use of its diplomatic, economic and military power in support of its national interests, which involved fighting the Communist influence, guaranteeing a steady supply of oil while ensuring that no single power dominated the region (Shlaim 1988, p.15. Campbell, 1970). In the last half of the 1940s, the US government extended its support for governments it considered potential unwavering allies such as the Saudi royal family, as well as the Israeli and Egyptian governments. America’s impact in the Middle East dates back to the 20th century when subsequent US administrations outlined new American strategies in the region. for instance, President Dwight Eisenhower’s famous Eisenhower Doctrine (Beauchamp, 2014). Through this strategy, the US officially took up the role of policing the Middle East and declared its willingness to support the independence of the freedom and peace-loving nations of the region. Subsequent US administrations have singled out the Middle East as an important area of focus in their foreign policy statements (Migdal 2014, p.3). the most significant and comprehensive US policy statements regarding the Middle East were formulated in the aftermath of World War II. Truman’s Doctrine of 1947 represents the first significant US policy statement regarding the Middle East. in this statement, the US assumes the responsibility of protecting Greece, Turkey, and Iran from what it perceives as a Soviet and Communist threat.