Middle East Stakes
January 21, 1952 — The Evening Telegram

The Mossadegh Project | January 19, 2020                           


An editorial in The Evening Telegram newspaper in Herkimer, New York.



Troubled Region

The Middle East seems a long distance away to most Americans, but so did Korea until not so long ago. The days when we could put most of our attention on our own Hemisphere have just about vanished. We are unlikely to accept Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s invitation to help Great Britain out in the Suez Canal Zone, but we can hardly ignore that part of the world entirely. So far, we have been following a rather weak and drifting policy, rather like the one which we followed in the Far East while China went Communist.

There are a number of difficulties, of course. The Middle East is a section of the world where Britain has long had a big stake, and if we tried to win the approval of the Arabs by helping them against the British—a move that would win us considerable popularity along the Mediterranean—we would be breaking the British alliance, which happens to be even more important to us. And we are also committed to friendship with the new state of Israel, whose existence is bitterly resented by the Arabs.

In the meantime, of course, those at the heads of the Middle Eastern countries are doing little to improve the situation. For many hundreds of years, these regions have had a small group of wealthy rulers and a vast mass of common people whose poverty and misery have been extreme. Until recently, this was accepted as the natural order of things, but now the Communists have been rousing resentment among the lowest level peasants, as they did in China, and the only answer of the leaders seems to be to attempt to channel this resentment into extreme nationalism instead of helping to improve the peasants’ lot and so make them less likely to listen to the Reds.

The whole situation seems about as bad as anything could be, and the trouble is that the ones likely to benefit are the Russians. If the countries of the Middle East were to go Communist the loss the West would be even greater than the loss of China.

Truman and Mossadegh’s First Messages on Iran Oil Dispute (1951)
President Truman and Premier Mossadegh's First Messages on Iran Oil Dispute (1951)

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Related links:

Middle East: Anglo-American Policy | Roger Makins, Jan. 25, 1954

If You Want Trouble, There’s Plenty in the Middle East | Aug. 12, 1952

Election, Egypt, Iran Spell Troubles Now For England’s Empire | Harry Ferguson, Oct. 1951



MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”

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