This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Pieces of Peace: An Evaluation of the Nixon Administration's Response to the Rise of Arab Radicalism in the Persian Gulf, Libya and Jordan




Markow, John

Type of Degree





This thesis is an examination and evaluation of the Nixon Administration’s response to the emergence of Arab radicalism in three areas: the Persian Gulf, Libya and Jordan. It examines the foundations of the Nixon Administration’s foreign policy, its methods of formulating responses to challenges in the regions, and the consequences of its actions. Many studies of the Nixon Administration have been undertaken; so too have many works on Arab radicalism in the Middle East. This thesis combines the two areas of study and draws on primary sources, many recently declassified, to provide a more accurate description of the Nixon Administration’s handling of this particular issue. Each of the three chapters examines the Nixon Administration’s specific policy interests, the activities of Arab radicals, and the consequences of the administration’s actions in each area. These three particular areas were selected because they represent three different types of challenges Arab radicals posed. This thesis develops a number of viewpoints on the Nixon Administration. It argues that the Nixon Administration partially succeeded in building structures of peace in the region and was most successful at building regional frameworks for stability when incentives for participation were most apparent. It also points out that the Nixon Administration was capable of developing highly nuanced and accurate views of regional dynamics that led to appropriate responses to radicals’ challenges. Still, it further affirms the argument that the Nixon Admini-stration’s preoccupation with Cold War concerns dominated its policy formulation. Finally, it argues that the Nixon Administration overlooked the solidification of terrorist networks in the Middle East because it either failed to understand the new threat or chose to ignore it.