The change in American foreign policy thought and behavior towards Israel and the Middle East region as a whole was due to several factors. On the one hand, the participation of the United States in the affairs of the Middle East region after the end of World War II was associated with the active development of the American oil business there. According to Kaabi and Premanandam (2021), this process was also directly related to the desire to become the world hegemon because, not wanting to cede leadership to the USSR, the US government sought to establish interaction with the Middle East through oil contracts. In the second half of the 20th century, the neglect of trade relations with oil-producing countries could lead to the concession of competitive advantage to the other superpower. In this regard, in the 1980s, the Reagan administration undertook a series of efforts to protect America’s national interests in maintaining trade unions with the Middle East, particularly with Kuwait, to prevent the capture of the target market by the USSR (Oren 2008). Therefore, at that time, a flexible and partnership-oriented foreign policy vector was crucial.
Another factor that deserves attention is the secularization of American society, which took place along with the establishment of relations with the Middle East. As Oren (2008) states, representatives of Jewish communities living in the United States accepted the idea of American Christians about social modernization and a gradual departure from religious canons in favor of secular norms. However, such an algorithm of rapprochement was rather typical only for the US-Israel relationship. Other countries in the Middle East, professing Islam and adhering to strict religious values, were not ready to give up their centuries-old laws in favor of trade ties. According to Wahba and Beshara (2022), imperialism, as a policy promoted by the US, is a factor that prevents the eastern countries from cohesion with the Western world due to contradictions regarding the role of humans in society. The unwillingness of the United States to adhere to traditional values due to the transition to market principles of the economy and the commercialization of many areas of life explains the lack of stable ties between the state and the countries of the Middle East.
Today, the themes concerning global hegemony and world order persist. The US still competes with Russia, China, and some other major powers, even though this competition has moved to new levels due to the technological process and digitalization. With regard to the issue of secularization, new topics are constantly emerging, driven by changing social trends, the expansion of democracy in the west, and, conversely, the focus on traditionalism in the east. As a result, relationships between Israel and the US, as well as the entire Middle East region as a whole, are not static.
While comparing the two aforementioned factors, one can suggest that the shift in America’s geopolitical role since World War II is a more powerful argument in the context of the US-Middle East interaction than societal secularization. The desire to dominate the world stage through successful trade and increase in oil production explains the compulsion to establish partnerships with the Arab countries, as well as with Israel. Therefore, this criterion plays a critical role as an incentive to maintain contacts and strengthen communication between the western and eastern worlds.
Kaabi, Ali Abed Neamah AI, and Peteti Premanandam. 2021. “Arab-Israeli Conflict and US Economic and Geo-Strategic Interests in the Middle East.” International Journal of Recent Advances in Multidisciplinary Topics 2, no. 9: 29-34.
Oren, Michael B. Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East: 1776 to the Present. New York: W. W. Norton, 2008.
Wahba, Mourad, and Robert K. Beshara. 2022. Fundamentalism and Secularization. London: Bloomsbury Academic.