Who Can Be Neutral?

Anti-Communism and Cold War Propaganda in the Middle East
  • James R. Vaughan
Part of the Cold War History Series book series (CWH)


This chapter looks at the ways in which the Cold War battle for hearts and minds was fought in the Middle East, examining the methods and tactics employed by British and American propagandists in their bid to strengthen anti-communist attitudes in the area. In particular, it questions whether the high priority afforded to anti-communist and anti-Soviet themes was a suitable strategy for Middle Eastern audiences and explores the reasons for the unreceptive attitude of much of the Arab world to Western Cold War propaganda. To that end, the chapter is divided into four major sections. It looks first at Anglo-American perceptions of the Soviet and communist threat to the region and considers why, given the low level of that threat for so much of the period, Cold War themes were so prominent in propaganda output. A second section examines the politics of Cold War propaganda in the Middle East, throwing light on the nature of Western collaboration with regional leadership groups and investigating the bid to present Western models of reform and development as alternatives to communism in the Middle East. The third and fourth sections look at two Cold War propaganda campaigns prosecuted with particular vigour in the region. The first was the bid to discredit neutralism as a viable foreign policy for Middle Eastern governments.


Middle East Central Intelligence Agency National Security Council News Review American Official 
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  1. 1.
    See, for example, Kent , British Imperial Strategy and the Origins of the Cold War 1944–49 (Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1993).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Acheson, Present at the Creation. My years at the State Department (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1969), pp. 196–7.Google Scholar
  3. 17.
    See, for example, Golan, Soviet Policies in the Middle East (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), pp. 44–5.Google Scholar
  4. 149.
    Heikal, Cutting the Lion’s Tail. Suez through Egyptian Eyes (London: André Deutsch, 1986), p. 53.Google Scholar

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© James R. Vaughan 2005

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  • James R. Vaughan

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