Trinity Woods: Dr. Crain Presents: The United States and the Modern Middle East

Date:  November 3, 2022 - December 15, 2022
Time: 6:30pm
Location: Trinity Woods

9525 West Burleigh Street, Milwaukee, WI 53222

Presented By: Dr. Tim Crain


Join us for this 6-part series: The United States and the Modern Middle East. Program dates are November 3, 10, 17, and December 1, 8, 15.

November 3: World War I and the Middle East

World War I had an astounding impact on the Middle East. Britain and France knew that Arabs in the region wanted independence from the Turks, and the two European powers exploited the division in World War I. Britain promised the Arabs independent states in the region, that was to include Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, and Palestine.  However, Britain also promised Palestine as a Jewish homeland. The interwar period was dominated by chaos, confusion, and insurrection as Britain and France tried to maintain their control over the region.

November 10: The United States and the Middle East

The United States closely monitored events in the Middle East, though the British and French dominated the region. By the end of the 1930’s both Britain and France realized their time in the region was running out. The two European powers were also far more concerned about the rise of Nazi Germany than they were regarding events in the Middle East. Following World War II, the European powers withdrew from the region, and the United States became the new power and sought to keep western influence in the region.

November 17: The United States, the Cold War, and the Middle East 

The United States emerged from World War II as the dominant power in the world. Yet the bright hopes for a peaceful world rapidly vanished with the onset of the Cold War between the US and Soviet Union. The Cold War influenced American policy in the Middle East throughout the 1950’s as the United States attempted to play the role of stabilizing the region. Ongoing issues in Iran, Egypt, and the Arab-Israeli conflict, led the Americans to begin rethinking their policy in the Middle East.

December 1: The United States and the Arab-Israeli Conflict

As the 1960’s progressed, the US Government closely monitored the problems between the Arabs and Israelis, while also staying out of the conflict. However, all of that changed in 1967, following the Six Day War. As Israel emerged victorious the June War, the Johnson Administration viewed Israel as an essential bulwark to Soviet expansionism in the Middle East. Just six years later, following the Yom Kippur War, US foreign policy changed yet again, as the Americans established a close alliance with Egypt. The United States hoped for peace in the Middle East throughout the remainder of the 1970’s, but the Iranian Revolution and subsequent hostage crisis served to further complicate those efforts.

December 8: The United States and the Persian Gulf

As the United States continued hoping for stability in the troubled region of the Middle East, the situation was about to go from bad to worse, as Iraq invaded Kuwait. The American Government saw the invasion of Kuwait as a direct threat to US interests in the region. The US assembled a large coalition of forces from various nations and launched into Operation Desert Storm that forced the Iraqis from Kuwait. With the expansion of terrorist organizations throughout the region including Al-Qaeda, the US soon saw itself fighting a very different war. The events of September 11, fundamentally changed US policy in the region.

December 15: The United States and the Middle East: Present and Future

In the aftermath of September 11, the United States invaded the nation of Afghanistan overthrowing the Taliban. The George W. Bush Administration then invaded Iraq on the basis that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The military occupation of both Afghanistan and Iraq proved enormously difficult, and much of the surrounding region, especially Syria, descended into chaos. The United States continued to search for ways to stabilize the troubled region but did not have much success. The future represents many challenges for US policy in the Middle East.


About the Presenter

Dr. Tim Crain holds a BA in philosophy, history and political science, and MA in British and Modern European history, both from Marquette University, and a Ph. D. with specializations in Modern Jewish, Modern Europe and Modern Middle East history from Arizona State University. A noted public speaker, Crain delivers over one hundred lectures nationally each year.

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