Reaction Paper: Epic Encounters Images

Pages: 3 (1051 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: History - Israel  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] They were also motivated by the Supreme Court decision allowing abortion in 1973, the ban on prayer in public schools, and hostility to feminism and gay rights, but in foreign affairs they always favored a strong military, nationalistic suspicion of the United Nations and other global organizations, anti-Communism and total support for Israel against Arabs and Muslims.

Among the most powerful images that had a major impact on American culture and politics were those associated with the 444-day Hostage Crisis in Iran from 1979-81. A failed rescue mission in 1980 and the oil shock that led to another doubling of oil prices and a spike in inflation and unemployment all damaged Jimmy Carter's presidency irreparably. It also led to a patriotic revival in the U.S. with the first Yellow Ribbon campaigns, and along with Vietnam and Watergate was one of the "most widely covered stories in television history" (McAlister 198). All television newscasts began with a count of how many days the hostages had been held, and frequently showed frenzied mobs burning American flags in Tehran for the benefit of the cameras. All this led to the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, with his "determined reassertion of U.S. political and military hegemony in the Middle East" (McAlister 199). From this point onward, Islam merged in the public mind with terrorism, which was reinforced by September 11, 2001 and many other terrorist attacks. Reagan and later George H.W. Bush intervened regularly in the Middle East, by supporting Iraq in the war of 1980-88, sending Marines to Lebanon, bombing Libya in 1986, and then defeating Saddam Hussein in 1990-91 after he invaded Kuwait. Few Americans knew the real history of Iran of the Middle East, of course, such as the 1953 CIA coup or American support for his SAVAK secret police. He had been a major Cold War ally and supporter of Israel who and purchased $9 billion in U.S. weaponry in 1972-76, but few Americans realized he was also a highly ruthless and corrupt autocrat (McAlister 204).

Even today, with democratic revolutions sweeping the Middle East, many Americans are preoccupied with these same issues, especially the fear that toppling secular dictators will open the door to increased Islamic radicalism and terrorism, and will also be a threat to the security of Israel. This is still particularly true on the conservative side of the political spectrum and among evangelical Protestants, who routinely criticize Obama for not having a more aggressive foreign policy, failing to support Israel sufficiently or back pro-U.S. dictators and monarchs -- no matter that Obama has effectively accepted almost all of the conservative-Republican foreign policy. In American culture and politics, these images and attitudes about Islam, Israel, the Middle East and Arabs seem to have been locked in place for decades, and the dominant narrative is generally as McAlister has outlined in her book. Much is this has very little relationship with what is actually happening on the ground in the Middle East, but a great deal more to do with American culture and politics.

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Epic Encounters Images.  (2011, November 6).  Retrieved August 20, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/epic-encounters-images/9009868

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"Epic Encounters Images."  Essaytown.com.  November 6, 2011.  Accessed August 20, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/epic-encounters-images/9009868.