During the time span of 1955 forward into the 1970s, the US was heavily involved in Southeast Asia. As a result of this preoccupation it has been argued that the US could not focus its attention on the Middle East. Ironic of the times, this would seem to be a failure of the US containment policy. It has also been argued that not only did Southeast Asia preoccupy the US, but also issues arising back in the United States.
US support for American military commitments was diminishing. There was also social unrest in the US shifting the focus of US leaders. While a number of historians place blame on the US for growing Soviet influence in the Middle East, it is also argued that is could have been a natural result.
The Middle East is an area with unstable governments, economic backwardness, unstable societies, inequality of wealth, and full of anti-West hatred. With the relative proximity to the Middle East, it would seem only a natural area for the Soviet Union to attempt to gain influence in this area. They could provide another option for these areas to get aid.
The American interest in the Middle East began around the mid-1950s. With the weakened French and British influence in this region it was considered highly vulnerable to a Soviet or communist attack. While it is argued by some historians, such as Michael Confino and Shimon Shamir, that the United States could have done more had they not been preoccupied, it would seem, however, that for some countries in the Middle East, it was actually the US involvement in the Middle East, which turned them to the Soviet Union.
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