Neoliberal Modernizers: The American Friends of the Middle East and Its Subversion of Arab Nationalism, 1951-67

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Authors
Grover, Nicholas
Keyword
United States , AFME , US Foreign Relations , Arab Nationalism , Middle East , Cold War , Nasser , Third World , Cultural Exchange , Development
Abstract
The American Friends of the Middle East (AFME) was a civil society organization that operated various cultural and technical programs in the Middle East. This thesis analyzes its activities and interactions with Arab states, particularly Egypt, during the early Cold War era. The AFME was committed to an agenda of neoliberal modernization. Its operations aimed to improve the political, economic, and cultural conditions of the Middle East via integration into the US orbit. The American private sector, rather than state actors, would oversee this process. The AFME broke with the foreign policy orthodoxy of the US state while subverting the postcolonial ambitions of Nasserist pan-Arabism by facilitating the expansion of US corporate development in the Middle East. Arab nationalism was committed to neutrality and economic sovereignty, neither of which the AFME respected, despite its professed commitment to friendship and understanding with the strategically vital Middle East.
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