The USA stepping up

After Britain, France and also Israel had to withdraw from the Sinai, there was no longer any doubt about the new pecking order in the Middle East. The time of the European colonial empires was over, the Cold War the new reality, with the USA and the Soviet Union as its main protagonists. That was 1956.

For the following decades, the two great powers determined the politics of the region, with their respective allies on the ground, with changing advantages for one side at a time. This was the paradigm until the early 1990s, when the Soviet Union suddenly imploded.

Now it was the turn of the superpower USA. Without any competition worth mentioning, it determined world political events as rarely before, the Gulf War showed its superiority, the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians its belief that it could shape the world according to its model.

But hubris was followed by a crash.

While the negotiations in the Holy Land were buried under the turmoil of the Intifada, an attack by former allies of the USA aimed directly at its heartland and caused general panic within the world power. This was followed by the Afghanistan and especially the Iraq wars, which were supposed to create a “beacon of democracy”, but only plunged a country into chaos and strengthened the US antagonist Iran.

The belief in the USA as a superpower that would be able to steer the destiny of the region was soon lost. This was true abroad, but above all for Americans themselves. Why should they send soldiers to a distant, foreign country only to be exposed to terrorist attacks?

The idea of the USA as a global empire faded.

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