With the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, America's relationship with the Middle East exploded to the forefront of our national consciousness. Looking back more than a half-century, Douglas Little offers valuable, historical context for anyone seeking a better understanding of this complicated relationship. He explores the encounters between the United States and the Middle East since 1945, focusing particularly on the complex, sometimes inconsistent attitudes and interests that have shaped U.S. relations in the region.Little begins by exposing the persistence of "orientalist" stereotypes in American popular culture and then examines U.S. policy toward the Middle East from many angles. Chapters focus on America's increasing dependence on petroleum; U.S.-Israeli relations; the threat of communism; the rise of revolutionary nationalist movements in Egypt, Iran, Iraq, and Libya; the futility of U.S. military and covert intervention; and the unsuccessful attempt to broker a "peace-for-land" settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The overarching theme of the book is that a combination of American omnipotence and profound cultural misunderstanding ensured that the United States would encounter trouble in the Middle East after 1945 and that those forces continue to bedevil the relationship between these vastly different cultures to the present day.