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C O U R S E 
War for the Greater Middle East
Andrew Bacevich, Boston University
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
Events of 1979 That Changed American Foreign Policy
Notes taken on October 13, 2015 by Edward Tanguay
Operation Eagle Claw
America's war in the greater Middle East began over 30 years ago
no shots fired
Americans didn't engage their adversaries
but 8 American soldiers died
location called Desert One
200 miles south east of Tehran
the purpose was to free several Americans
mission ended in failure
bad planning
defective equipment
poor coordination
what drew the United States into the war for the greater Middle East
1968 Tet Offensive
made it plain that the vietnam war was not going to end happily
1968 Lyndon Johnson announced he was not going to run for reelection
threw the political scene into turmoil
1968 April: assassin murdered Dr. Martin Luther King
angry African Americans rioted
cities burned, a not uncommon occurrance in the 1960s
1968 June: Robert Kennedy assassinated while campaigning for presidency
1968 August: Democractic Convention
sustained violence on a large scale
downtown Chicago became something like a war zone
the country seemed in many ways as if it was coming apart
although from or president vantage point, 1979 was not the year that everything changed, but the point of origin of a great upheaval
attempting to cope with or control that upheaval became the central them of US policy with mostly negative consequences
1979 Iran revolution
the Shah, long time US ally overthrown
radical Islamist regime getting power in Tehran
militants overrun teh US Embassy
take several American diplomats hostage
1979 July Soviet invasion in Afganistan
triggers widespread resistance by militants intent on clearing Afghan territory of foreign occupiers
1979 in Iraq
Saddam Hussein
ambitions matched only by his capacity for brutality, becomes president
1979 Saudia Arabia
radicals seize control of the Grand Mosque in Mecca
becomes the scene of bloody firefights
1979 Pakistan, General
General Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq embarks on campaign to transform country into a thoroughly Islamist state
1979 Jimmy Carter midway through presidential term
had inherited a mess from Ford, the only unelected president
country was recovering from 1960s, the Watergate scandal, and the fall of Saigon
Carter appeared not well suited or prepared for presidency
Naval Academy graduate
served as nuclear submariner
returned to Georgia where he ran the family peanut farm
in election, someone with a pronounced sense of religiousity
promised to clean up Washington and put things back in order
promised to promote human rights and eliminate nuclear weapons
achieved limited success on these fronts
but the economy proved his undoing
economy was in staglation: low growth and high inflation
by summer of 1979, unemployment was 7%, inflation was 11%, prime lending rate was 15% and heading upward
overthrow of the Shah triggered the oil shock
America became aware that it had become dependent on energy coming from Saudi Arabia and Iran
1979 hostage crisis
so the Iran hostage crisis occurred in a context of a larger crisis
foreign countries that controlled the energy that fueled the American way of life
could no longer claim to be genuinely independent