Time Travel Logs

1954 Part 7

Chapter 7.

John Foster Dulles said, “We are going to have to wrap up today’s meeting. We should be able to resume tomorrow afternoon. However, I want to hear how we were to betray Britain and France in favor of Nasser.”

Bob Thomas said, “Let me start with a later historical analogy to put it into context. In the late 1970’s, the US signs a new Panama Canal treaty to turn it over to them fully in 1999. Around 1988 there was some sort of falling out between the US and the leader of Panama. In 1989, President Bush, son of Senator Prescott Bush, invaded and overthrew the government, installing a more cooperative one. Officially, the reason was the Panamanian participation in drug smuggling to the US, but that was going on for the many years he was considered a reliable US ally. The lesson of the analogy, is that the US wouldn’t tolerate a hostile Panama in charge of the Canal, while in 1956, the US could only put the Suez Canal in terms of decolonization, and not recognizing that Britain and France could have essential interests that they could defend.

Britain agrees to clear out of Suez in 1954, with some provision to allow reentry in time of war. The same year, Nasser emerges as the absolute ruler of Egypt. During the next few years he plays US versus USSR, to see who will give him more aid, including to build the Aswan dam, and to build an army to threaten Israel.

The US is in Cold War mode. The Arab world is not. France is not either, they are out for self-interest. The Arab world has 3 basic forces, the Arab Socialists, who the US always tries to woo, but who always wind up being Soviet allies, and later anti-US. Arab Monarchies, which usually are US allies. And Islamists, who always oppose both what they consider to be US, British, and French imperialism, as well as the Soviet Union, and the local monarchies and socialist governments. None of them want Soviet rule, not even the Socialists, yet, that never makes them US allies interested in fighting communism as part of the US led Cold War.

I think you should be seeing that now, with the Baghdad pact, and how Egypt doesn’t want to be part of it, to avoid building up the importance of Iraq. Instead, the US takes a position of assuming that just because they don’t like Communism, they will be working on behalf of the US.

Because of this attempt to win over the Arab Socialists, the US doesn’t ally with Israel until Nixon is President in 1969. In a few years you try to fund some joint development projects around the Jordan river, then discover that the Arab nations cannot agree to it, not because it doesn’t benefit them enough, but because it helps Israel at all.

In 1955 and 1956 Egypt gets Soviet arms, starts to build up for an attack on Israel, and unleashes cross-border guerrilla attacks on Israel. In 1956 they also nationalize the Suez Canal.

Britain and France in their last imperial venture, arm Israel, and plan for Israel to attack Egypt, followed by their declaration for both sides to stay at least 10 miles from both sides of the canal, followed by an invasion of Egypt to enforce it. This is done in secret from the US. The US is outraged, meaning the people in this room are outraged. They caused the invasion to be reversed, by threatening to destroy the British currency, stand aside in the face of Soviet threats to send its own forces to help Egypt, and even Soviet attacks to use nuclear weapons against Britain and France and not help Britain and France find other oil supplies after a Saudi cut-off of them. The US also sponsored UN resolutions against the attack.

What did the US accomplish? France withdrew from NATO in 1966, and tended to oppose the US in any foreign policy issue in the next 50 years. Britain lost its confidence. Egypt became a staunch Soviet ally, until 1974 when they suddenly switched sides again, partially because they saw that their Soviet arms couldn’t defeat Israel with the US made arms and agreed to peace agreements along with substantial US economic aid.”

Story: 1954: Part 8


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: