By William Stivers
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Extra info for America’s Confrontation with Revolutionary Change in the Middle East, 1948–83
A number of possibilities existed, most of them under British control. 15 The strategic islands concept was formally posed to Admiral Burke in June 1960. In a memorandum entitled 'Assuring a Future Base Structure in the African Indian Ocean Area', the Long-Range Objectives Group noted the possibility of 'war and tension situations' in the 'Indian Ocean, sub-Saharan African area' during the next ten to fifteen years. At the same time, Western base rights would become increasingly insecure. Only small, sparsely populated islands could safely be held 'under the full control of the West in face of the currents of nationalism'.
But the aid had strings; in particular, Egypt would have to submit herself to an anti-inflationary domestic policy supervised by the World Bank. Resentful over such conditions, Nasser stalled for better terms. In the meantime the Egyptian press waged a bitter propaganda campaign against the Baghdad Pact, the West's refusal to sell Egypt arms, and Western support for Israel. Rumours circulated that Nasser was talking with the Soviets about financing the dam. Eisenhower was coming to the position that Nasser was largely responsible for the ills of the region.
But, in conjunction with increased trade and diplomatic ties, it would help them to support internal dissidents' movements and promote the radicalisation of inherently unstable littoral regimes. 24 Thus were sounded constant themes of US Indian Ocean policy from the late 1950s to the present day. The West, with its vital stake in Persian Gulf oil, was threatened by local extremisms which the Soviets might exploit. Washington policy makers sought to contain these extremisms through a military presence that they knew would exacerbate hypersensitive nationalisms.
America’s Confrontation with Revolutionary Change in the Middle East, 1948–83 by William Stivers