Support Any Friend

Support Any Friend : Kennedy's Middle East and the Making of the U.S. Israel Alliance

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They were three of the most memorable figures of the twentieth century: David Ben-Gurion, Israel's indomitable founding father; Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser, the charismatic Arab nationalist; and the young and dynamic John F. Kennedy. Now Warren Bass illuminates these three extraordinary men and their diplomatic struggles at the height of the Cold War, offering stunning new insights into the origins of today's Middle East. The Kennedy period, Bass writes, was no "mere place-marker between Suez and the Six Day War, between the martial frostiness of Dwight Eisenhower and the Texas warmth of Lyndon Johnson." He shows how Kennedy sought greater influence in the Arab world, offering more foreign aid and a new diplomatic overture to Nasser, the Arab world's leading radical. For a while, Kennedy and Nasser engaged in a rich personal correspondence. But the rapprochement was cut short by Nasser's impulsive intervention in Yemen's civil war, which led Kennedy to deploy fighter jets in Saudi Arabia as a warning to Egypt. Meanwhile, Kennedy made the first major U.S. arms sale to Israel, providing it with advanced Hawk anti-aircraft missiles-a crucial policy shift that marks the origins of America's alliance with the Jewish state.
But Kennedy also feared that Israel would get the bomb and demanded that Ben-Gurion open his secret nuclear reactor to U.S. inspectors, leading to a grave confrontation. Ultimately, Israel agreed to inspections-but continued its nuclear weapons program under the cover of intense secrecy. Drawing on meticulous research, Warren Bass paints a fresh, elegant portrait of the pivotal presidency that helped create the modern Middle East.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 350 pages
  • 160.02 x 231.14 x 38.1mm | 793.78g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 8pp halftone plates and 1 map
  • 0195165802
  • 9780195165807

Review quote

Of the hundreds of scholarly books about John F. Kennedy, Support Any Friend is the first to examine one of the best-kept secrets about his foreign policy - his innovative approach to the Middle East ... a meticulously researched and beautifully written account ... Readers are likely to give Warren Bass a grade of A+ for this engaging and definitive acount of JFK's policies in the Middle East. Support Any Friend marks a major contribution to the diplomatic history of a little understood period in American Middle East diplomacy. Bass captures the full flavour of the collision between abstract interests and flesh-and-blood personalities that makes international diplomacy so fascinating. This book will be riveting even for those who think they are not especially interested in the period or its problems. New York Times ... useful study of Israeli-American relations during the Kennedy presidency. Paul Johnson, Sunday Telegraph (Review) ... engaging and informative. International Jerusalem Post A first-rate book ... Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the roots of America's current ties to Israel and dilemmas in trying to resolve the tensions that plague the Middle East. General readers as well as specialists will enjoy and profit from this important study. Robert Dallek, author of An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963
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About Warren Bass

Warren Bass is a Senior Fellow in U.S. Foreign Policy and Middle East Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. His articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, The New Republic, The Jerusalem Report, and Slate. He holds a Ph.D. in History from Columbia University and is a former Associate Editor of Foreign Affairs. He lives in New York City.
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