Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Government and International Affairs

Major Professor

Steven Roach, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Earl Conteh-Morgan, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Darrell Slider, Ph.D.


Government, Middle East, Realist Critique


After World War II the United States, faced with the new Soviet threat of Communism, instituted the foreign policy known as “containment” in order to mitigate the threat to Western European states of Soviet expansionism. After the fall of Communism in the USSR in 1991 that policy was deemed, at once, a success and an anachronism. The power vacuum that the subsequent abandonment of that policy created was most notable in the Islamic states that had served as proxies in the Cold War against Communism. Both the backdrop of containment as well as the withdrawal of that policy served to lay the foundation for the rise of Islamic fundamentalism throughout the Muslim world as a function of American hegemony after 1991.