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The period between the mid-1960s and the early 1980s became known as the “Crisis in Confidence” upon a variety of interrelated grounds that all roughly correlated to the international in domestic crises that sprung out of the later phases of the Cold War. Despite the crises at hand, the American government refused to waver from its confidence in its hardline against communism and adamant adherence to conservative policies. One of the most prominent causes for these crises were the proxy wars that occurred between the United States and the Soviet Union in their attempts to expand their respective spheres of influence in the Middle East and Central Asia.
The rising oil prices during this period demonstrate the domestic impact that occurred as a result of the international embargo of oil exports to the United States that resulted from the United States’ support of Israel as quasi-puppet state of American influence in the Middle East. This crisis, known as the 1973 Oil Crisis, was created when members of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries declared an oil embargo for the US support of Israel in the Yom Kippur War against Egypt and Syria.
The rising oil prices that resulted from this crisis catalyzed an era of extreme economic instability as the petrodollar inflated rapidly. This generated a sudden wave of unemployment and economic uncertainty that resulted from the rapid inflation that was one of the results of the 1973 Oil Embargo. These economic and social crises were components of the socioeconomic situation that led into the eventual resignation of President Richard Nixon after the Watergate Scandal.
The fact that these previously mentioned crises coincided with Richard Nixon’s presidency were some of the factors that contributed to the illicit involvements surrounding Richard Nixon’s attempts to ensure that he would be elected for a second term. However, documents leaked during the Watergate Scandal illustrated the illegal activities with which Richard Nixon was implicated during his term as president, which led to his ultimate resignation in 1974.
The crises that resulted from the proxy wars between the United States and the Soviet Union during this later phase of the Cold War were not merely domestic. The Iranian Hostage Crisis, which resulted after the Shah was overthrown in Iran and later harbored in the United States. The United States had initially put the Shah in power in order to maintain an American presence in Iran, which made it of American interests to keep the Shah secure. This ultimately prompted a group of Iranian Muslim students between 1979 and 1981 to hold the US Embassy in Tehran hostage as they demanded that the Shah be returned to Iran so that he may face trial for alleged crimes against the Iranian people.
The United States was, however, noncompliant, which further stressed the American presence in the Middle East. Also in 1979 was the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. This triggered yet another proxy power struggle in Central Asia between the United States and the Soviet Union in the battle between capitalist economics and communism, and consequentially the political influences of either nation. In confidence during this crisis, American forces supported the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in order to undermine the Soviet Union’s attempt to seize control over Afghanistan. The Soviet Union’s invasion was ultimately unsuccessful, but the American participation in this proxy war later came back to haunt the United States in the global Jihad that Al-Qaeda declared against the United States. The American confidence in its own political and economic positions during this period led to a domino effect that created crisis after crisis as a result of this unwavering confidence.
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