Imperial Crossroads: The Great Powers and the Persian Gulf

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Overview


For centuries the world's Great Powers, along with their fleets, armies, and intelligence services, have been drawn to the Persian Gulf region. Lying at the junction of three great continents - Asia, Europe, and Africa - and sitting athwart the oceanic trade routes that link the cities of the world, the Gulf, like a magnet, has pulled superpowers into the shallow waters and adjacent lands of the 600 mile long appendage of the Indian Ocean. An observer at Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf would alternately have watched pass in the 15th century the treasure ships of Chinese Admiral Zheng He, in the 16th century the caravels of Portuguese Admiral Afonso de Albuquerqe, in the 17th century the merchant ships of the Dutch East India Company, in the 18th to the 20th centuries the frigates and steamships of the British, and finally in the late 20th century to today, the cruisers and aircraft carriers of the U.S. Fifth Fleet. Perhaps in the future, Americans may be supplanted by the Indians, or perhaps the Chinese.

In the Great Powers' comings and goings since the 1400s, several consistent broad interests emerged. For the majority of this time, for example, the superpowers entered the Gulf region not to colonize, as the Europeans did in other places, but rather to further trade, which in the 20th century increasingly included oil. They also sought a military presence in the Gulf to protect seaborne flanks to colonial possessions further east on the Indian sub-continent and beyond (India, in fact, has long cast a shadow over the Gulf, given its historic trade and cultural ties to the Gulf region, strong ties that continue today). In their geo-political jockeying, furthermore, the Great Powers sought to deprive their rivals access to the states bordering the Gulf region. In tending to these enduring interests inside the Strait of Hormuz, the Great Powers through history concentrated their trade, political, and military presence along the littorals. Not surprisingly, their navies have played a substantive role.

Imperial Crossroads: The Great Powers and the Persian Gulf is a collection of connected chapters, each of which investigates a different perspective in the broader subject of the Great Powers and their involvement with the states of the Persian Gulf. This volume concentrates on four western nations - Portugal, Holland, Britain, and the United States - and concludes with a look at the possible future involvement of two rising Asian powers - China and India.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591144892
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press
  • Publication date: 7/15/2012
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 235
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author


Dr. Jeffrey R.Macris is a Permanent Military Professor at the U.S. Naval Academy. A resident of the Persian Gulf for several years, he holds a PhD from Johns Hopkins University, and a linguist certificate in Arabic. He is also the author of The Politics and Security of the Gulf: Anglo-American Hegemony and the Shaping of a Region (Routledge).

Dr. Saul Kelly is Reader in International History in the Defence Studies Department of King's College, London, located at the UK Joint Services Command and Staff College at Shrivenham, Wiltshire. His area of interest is Britain and the Middle East and he has published a number of books and articles on this subject.

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Table of Contents

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xix

Abbreviations xxi

Chapter 1 The Portuguese Presence in the Persian Gulf: An Overview Rudi Matthee 1

Chapter 2 The Dutch in the Persian Gulf Virginia Lunsford 13

Chapter 3 The Great Game and Power Projection Robert Johnson 31

Chapter 4 The Gamekeeper versus the Mercenary Spirit: The Pax Britannica in the Gulf Saul Kelly 49

Chapter 5 Why Didn't America Replace the British in the Persian Gulf? Jeffrey R. Macris 61

Chapter 6 Richard Nixon, Great Britain, and the Anglo-American Strategy of Turning the Persian Gulf into an Allied Lake Tore T. Petersen 75

Chapter 7 A Guiding Hand or Controlling Grasp? Britain, Intelligence, and the War in Oman, 1970-1976 Clive Jones 91

Chapter 8 In Brzezinski's Forge: Fashioning the Carter Doctrine's Military Instrument Frank L. Jones 109

Chapter 9 The Ties That Bind: The Events of 1979 and the Escalation of U.S. Saudi Security Relations during the Carter and Reagan Administrations Jason H. Campbell 129

Chapter 10 India's "Monroe Doctrine" and the Gulf James R. Holmes Toshi Yoshihara 147

Chapter 11 China's Historic Return to the Gulf Ben Simpfendorfer 167

Notes 185

Contributors 219

Index 223

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