The US and Soviet Union’s relationship during the Cold War Era marked approximately 40 years of competing policies for hegemony in the Middle East (Reich & Gotowicki, 1994). The Cold War rivalry between the US and the Soviet Union took centre stage in the Middle East and…
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The impact is usually characterised as the Israeli-Arab conflict which is not only attributed to super and world power intervention during the Second World War, but perpetuated and exacerbated by US and Soviet intervention during the Cold War Era (Azar, Jureidini & McLaurin, 1978). During the period from the Second World War to the end of the Cold War, the Middle East has been a cauldron of tensions and conflicts with major conflicts primarily concentrated around the Israeli-Arab conflict (Shlaim, 1996). Using the balance of power theory, this paper will analyse how and to what extent US and Soviet policies in the Middle East produced and/or contributed to these conflicts. These conflicts are arguably the main impact of US and Soviet policies in the Middle East.
The classical balance of power theory argues that states align their allies and interests in the creation of an international system that ensures that no state is possessed of “overwhelming power” or dominancy over other states (Chatterjee, 1972, p. 51). The modified version of the balance of power theory is more appropriate to studies of Soviet and US relations and their policies in the Middle East. In this modified version of the balance of power theory, each of the super powers aligned their allies and interest in the Middle East as a means of preventing the spread and influence of the other super power in the region and globally (Walt, 1985).
Under the modified version of the balance of power theory, competing states respond to one another in that when one state pursues hegemony aggressively through alignment with other states, the competing state will attempt to match that aggressive alignment (Walt, 1985). The US and the Soviet Union persistently attempted to “balance against aggregate power” (Walt, 1985, p. 35). As Walt (1985) explained, the US and the USSR saw each other as the “other’s greatest potential threat” and devoted their
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