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Egypt’s Search for Regime Security and the Failure in the making of the U.S.-Egypt Cold War Alliance During the Eisenhower and Kennedy Years

A lecture by Kangsuk Kim, Fulbright Visiting Graduate Researcher from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, South Korea

Tuesday, June 04, 2013
3:00 PM
10383 Bunche Hall
Los Angeles, CA

This lecture investigates the relationship between Egypt’s search for regime security and the failure to create U.S-Egyptian Cold War alliance during the Eisenhower and Kennedy years. Based on previous work focusing on internal threats in explaining alignments in the Middle East, this talk attempts to answer this core question: how were U.S.-Egyptian relations transformed and why did the instruments of U.S. foreign policy fail to modify Nasser’s posture of positive neutralism? The lecture provides answers to this question from three points of view. First, the historical events of the Baghdad Pact (1955), the Iraqi Coup (1958), and the breakup of the UAR (1961) became a background for Nasser regime’s increased vulnerability to domestic instability emanating from the incitement of subversion by other Arab leaders. Second, in the wake of these events, Nasser strove to decrease vulnerability to domestic instability by pursuing legitimacy of the regime, which could lead to U.S.-Egyptian conflicts. Lastly, Nasser’s pursuit of legitimacy made rapprochement between the United States and Egypt fragile, so the mechanism of U.S. foreign policy could never modify Nasser’s posture of positive neutralism even during the period of rapprochement with Egypt. Examination of these issues will be conducive to both historical and contemporary understandings of the relationship between the United States and Egypt.   

Kangsuk Kim is currently the Fulbright Visiting Graduate Researcher of the Center for Near Eastern Studies at UCLA and a Ph.D. candidate at the Graduate School of International and Area Studies, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. He received his M.A. from the Department of International Relations at Seoul National University. 

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