American Policy in Lebanon: 1945 to Present

International Relations / April 23, 2015 / No Comments /
A thorough look at the American policies in Lebanon during this time period and how this has had to be balanced in a very unbalanced Middle East.

What were American policies toward Lebanon between 1945 and Desert Storm, and what were their bases and justifications? Were selfish national interests the main factor or were more egalitarian and humanitarian concerns the basis of US policy? This essay addresses those questions by assessing American policy in Lebanon as well as the common view of this small but strategic country in American eyes.
“The “State of Greater Lebanon” was proclaimed by France in 1920 and then significantly enlarged as part of its post-World War I mandate. A new nation based on expansion of the Christian enclave of Mount Lebanon in the Ottoman Empire, Lebanon peacefully achieved its full independence from the French mandate in 1943. The country was destined to travel a strange and unpredictable path in the ensuing fifty years: a model of stability and Westernism and a center of terror and civil war. In the American mind and heart during the latter part of the 20th century it became difficult to decide if the Lebanese were cultured polyglots or hooded terrorists. The powerful influence of the US in the Arab world after World War II created the need for sound policy based on clear objectives for Lebanon, but for several reasons both pragmatic and emotional decisions resulted. What were American policies toward Lebanon between 1945 and Desert Storm, and what were their bases and justifications? Were selfish national interests the main factor or were more egalitarian and humanitarian concerns the basis of US policy? This essay will address those questions by assessing American policy in Lebanon as well as the view of this small country in American eyes. It argues that the majority of decisions were the result of regional concerns involving the Arabs and Israelis or related to American self-interest and not based on the interests of the Lebanese people.”


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