Notes from the Minefield

United States Intervention in Lebanon, 1945-1958, With a new preface

Irene L. Gendzier

Columbia University Press

Notes from the Minefield

Google Preview

Pub Date: November 2006

ISBN: 9780231140119

520 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $38.00£32.00

Pub Date: November 2006

ISBN: 9780231511605

520 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $37.99£32.00

Notes from the Minefield

United States Intervention in Lebanon, 1945-1958, With a new preface

Irene L. Gendzier

Columbia University Press

Irene Gendzier's critically acclaimed, wide-reaching analysis of post-World War II U.S. policy in Lebanon posits that the politics of oil and pipelines figured far more significantly in U.S. relations with Lebanon than previously believed. In 1958 the United States sent thousands of troops to shore up the Lebanese regime in the face of domestic opposition and civil war. The justification was preventing a coup in Iraq, but recently declassified documents show that the true objective was to protect America's commercial, political, and strategic interests in Beirut and the Middle East. By reevaluating U.S.-Lebanese relations within the context of America's collaborative intervention with the Lebanese ruling elite, Gendzier aptly demonstrates how oil, power, and politics drove U.S. policy and influenced the development of the state and the region. In her new preface, Gendzier discusses the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the remarkable continuity of U.S. foreign policy from 1945 to the present.

Irene Gendzier's brilliant historical study of American interventionary diplomacy in Lebanon is today even more illuminating than when originally published in 1997. The extensive new introduction ties this unknown and forgotten past to the ugly realities of the present, linked as they are to the Iraq War and the struggle to keep control over Middle Eastern oil. What comes across most clearly in the book is that the American people have for decades been deliberately kept in the dark as to the real motives of U.S. policy: hegemony plus oil. Above all, Gendzier in this book is awakening Americans to the failed responsibilities of citizenship, which depends on breaking the ongoing governmental/media stranglehold on true awareness about what is really going on in Iraq and elsewhere in the region.

Richard Falk, Albert G. Milbank Professor of International Law and Practice, emeritus, and emeritus professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University

The reissue of Irene Gendzier's outstanding work is greatly to be welcomed, perhaps even more so than its publication a decade ago. With attention riveted on the Middle East, it is even more imperative than before to overcome the "public amnesia" that she rightly deplores, and to understand the roots of policy and the reasons for the fundamental continuities since World War II. No less important is her unraveling of the mechanisms employed to impede public understanding and 'the capacity to dissent and resist'--essential if we are to avert grave threats and radically reorient policies to humane directions. To these ends, this fine study makes an inestimable contribution.

Noam Chomsky

Irene Gendzier has managed a fascinating intellectual tour de force. She has written a thoroughly documented history of a crucial period of Lebanon's life, drawing our attention to the untapped resources of the U.S. government archives; analyzed U.S. foreign policy in the 1950s and 1960s, revealing its two main driving motors, oil and the defense of Israel; and highlighted the tragically unlearnt lessons of U.S. interventionism. This is what critical history is about.

Fawwaz Traboulsi, associate professor of history and international affairs at the Lebanese American University in Beirut and the author of A History of Modern Lebanon

Notes from the Minefield is history at its best.

Sally Bland, Jordan Times
List of Maps and Illustrations
Preface
Preface to the 2006 Edition
Part I. The Setting of U.S. Policy
1. The Dynamic of Collaborative Intervention
2. U.S. Postwar Policy and the Middle East
3. Learning Lebanon: A Primer
Part II. Formative Years in the Evolution of U.S. Policy: 1944–1952
4. Alternating Currents of Criticism and Conformity
5. The Foundations of U.S. Policy, PACLIFT: Petroleum, Aviation, Commerce, Labor, Intelligence, and the Friendship Treaty
6. Altered Circumstances and the Design of U.S. Political Strategy
Part III. The Eisenhower Administration and the Sham'un Regime: A Policy of Information and Consent
7. Pressure Points and Priorities
8. Lebanon: The "Bridgehead in the Orient"
9. Realities of Power in the "Rear Area"
10. Our Man in Beirut
Part IV. Intervening Before Intervention
11. Civil War, May 1958
12. Doubt, Deliberation, and Preparation
Part V. The Minefield Explodes: U.S. Military Intervention
13. 11,000 Sorties in Search of a Target
14. By Mutual Consent: July–October 1958
Epilogue: 1958 in Retrospect
Notes
Bibliography
Index
Web Features

About the Author

Irene L. Gendzier is professor of political science at Boston University and author of Development Against Democracy: Manipulating Political Change in the Third World.