The 1970s was a pivotal time for U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. In this week’s POMEPS Conversations podcast, Salim Yaqub talks about how that decade was the most influential time for the emergence of the Arab world as a major player in international politics — a topic he explores in depth in his new book, Imperfect Strangers: Americans and Arabs in the 1970s.
“As a historian, I’m often reluctant to opine too directly on what’s going on today,” Yaqub says. “If you want to understand the course that U.S.-Arab relations have taken— that curious state of affairs — you have to take a look at what happened in the 1970s. ”
“Geopolitical developments that generate ill will between the two societies [in the 1970s], also at the same time create possibilities for better relations and for more favorable perspectives. It plays itself out in the petrodollars story, but also in Arab-Israeli diplomacy,” Yaqub says.
Yaqub is a professor at UC Santa Barbara, and directs UCSB’s Center for Cold War Studies and International History.
Read More from Yaqub:
“The United States and the Persian Gulf: 1941 to the Present,” Charles Glaser and Rosemarie Kelanic, eds., Crude Calculus: Reexamining the Energy Logic of the U.S. Military Commitment to the Persian Gulf, Georgetown University Press.
“The Cold War and the Middle East,” Robert McMahon, ed., The Cold War in the Third World, Oxford University Press, 2013