Conceiving the “Arc of Crisis” in the Indian Ocean Region*

Conceiving the “Arc of Crisis” in the Indian Ocean Region* December 1978 marked the end of a tumultuous and often dispiriting year for President Jimmy Carter and his foreign policy team. Over the previous months they had seen their efforts to de-emphasize the East-West struggle as the central feature of U.S. diplomacy falter and their labors to promote improved North-South relations lose momentum. They now watched as the United States’ détente with the Soviet Union rapidly eroded and war, revolution, and indigenous radicalism jeopardized U.S. interests in key areas of the developing world. The president’s assistant for national security affairs, Zbigniew Brzezinski, was apprehensive. He was at the forefront of the administration’s efforts to address these issues, and he perceived a geographic logic to them. In an address to the members of the Foreign Policy Association in Washington, DC on December 20, he surveyed the international scene and outlined the opportunities and challenges for American diplomacy in the months ahead. Near the end of his remarks he expounded on the difficulties then confronting the United States on the Cold War’s periphery, and told his audience that there extended “an arc of crisis … along the shores of the Indian Ocean, with fragile social and political structures in a region of vital importance to us threatened with fragmentation. The resulting political chaos could well be filled by elements hostile to our values and sympathetic to our adversaries.”1 Brzezinski’s articulation of this “arc of crisis” was arresting for many reasons. The term entered the foreign policy lexicon immediately and was seized upon by the media. Most notably, Time magazine transformed the term into “Crescent of Crisis” and emblazoned it across the cover of its January 15, 1979 issue to accompany an article assessing the political turmoil in the Persian Gulf and its neighborhood.2 More importantly, the speech marked a key step by United States policymakers in identifying the Indian Ocean and its littoral states as a distinct theater of the Cold War and U.S. foreign policy. Between 1970 and 1980, three successive presidential administrations transformed U.S. strategic thinking concerning the Indian Ocean in ways that persisted for the remaining years of the Cold War and after. At the beginning of the decade, President Richard Nixon, his foreign policy advisers, and the U.S. military did not believe the nations that ringed the Indian Ocean composed a coherent region for which American diplomacy could be formulated and strategic planning conducted. Over the next ten years, however, a series of dramatic events along the shores of the ocean reshaped the “mental maps” of these planners, the most influential of whom were persuaded by 1980 that a new regional architecture for U.S. policy had to be conceived. A key to that region was the ocean itself. Its waters and the nations they touch became central to U.S. foreign policy planning as the Cold War entered a new, tortuous phase. The concept of “mental maps” offers a valuable tool with which to assess U.S. diplomacy in these years and in this part of the world. It helps to explain how American strategic planners and diplomats perceived, interpreted, and imagined how waters and lands on the other side of the world impinged on U.S. interests. It provides insight into their halting efforts to define a strategic framework for an area which comprised, in different and often overlapping formulations, the Indian Ocean and its littoral states, the greater Persian Gulf, and Southwest Asia. In his seminal 1980 treatment of the subject, Alan K. Henrikson observed that “statesmen respond to the world as they perceive and imagine it—which may not be the way the world really is.” Rather, he later summarized, they often embrace “mental maps,” a “cognitive frame on the basis of which … diplomats and others who think and act internationally, orient themselves in the world.” These mental maps consist of “geographical ideas, images, and associated reasoning processes, which may not be completely conscious or fully articulated in speech [but which nevertheless] do exist in the minds of policymakers.”3 Thus, the analysis of mental maps attempts to bridge the fields of geopolitics and cognitive psychology to parse the ways foreign policymakers imagine the world around them.4 Foreign relations historians have too seldom exploited the concept of mental maps to explore their subjects. Henrikson contributed a chapter on the subject to the first edition of Cambridge University Press’s Explaining the History of American Foreign Relations in 1991, but it was omitted from subsequent editions.5 It has largely fallen to political scientists to explore the application of mental maps to foreign policy analysis.6 A notable exception is Aiyaz Husain’s recent Mapping the End of Empire: American and British Strategic Visions in the Postwar World, which adroitly assesses the imagined geographies of U.S. and British officials as they framed their global and regional worldviews during the era of decolonization.7 An examination of the mental maps embraced by U.S. policymakers in the 1970s allows us to simultaneously refine and broaden our understanding of American diplomacy in the Indian Ocean region and come to a deeper understanding of the foundations of subsequent American policies in the area. Such an examination underscores that U.S. policymakers came to visualize the ocean and its littoral as a coherent unit and a distinct front of the Cold War, as well as a venue in which indigenous radicalisms jeopardized American strategic and economic interests. It illuminates how mental maps both reflected and reinforced priorities and justified costly policies by the United States in this complex region. Most importantly, perhaps, it demonstrates how imaginary or poorly understood threats have led to a dramatically larger U.S. role along the ocean’s “Arc of Crisis” and eventually to America’s participation in numerous conflicts along its shores. This examination requires that we engage with the larger historiography of the Indian Ocean. For more than three decades a growing body of literature has examined the Indian Ocean as an area of cultural exchange, commercial contacts, migration, and political competition. Deeply influenced by Fernand Braudel’s scholarship on the Mediterranean and Immanuel Wallerstein’s world-systems theory, this “new thalassology” (study of the seas) has focused primarily on the ancient, Islamic, early modern, and colonial periods. It has been largely economic, social, and cultural in nature.8 K. N. Chaudhuri, Kenneth McPherson, Michael Pearson, and Sugata Bose, for example, have argued persuasively that we must appreciate the spatial and temporal unities, or at least commonalities, within the Indian Ocean world.9 A similar perception of the region’s unity and coherence, in strategic and diplomatic terms, is what came to impress U.S. foreign policymakers in the 1970s, yet this perception has gone largely unexplored by historians. In fact, the modern diplomatic and political history of the Indian Ocean region has been slighted by scholars. It is time to move the existing literature forward by assessing the area in the late imperial and post-imperial era, in other words the era of decolonization and superpower competition during the Cold War. Such an examination requires us to exploit the insights of an earlier generation of scholars about the salience of the greater Indian Ocean region. Their work compels us to rethink our own “mental maps,” both geographic and temporal, about the ocean. The task also obliges us to examine the role of Western actors and local actors as they shaped the Indian Ocean world together and grapple with the complicated political exchanges between them.10 At the beginning of the 1970s, the governments of many of the newly independent nations of Asia and Africa along the shores of the Indian Ocean embraced a very different mental map of their neighborhood than those in the West. They identified a set of shared interests in promoting the idea of the Indian Ocean as a “Zone of Peace” (IOZP) and worked to establish an identity for the Indian Ocean region. They raised their voices against what they viewed as the depredations of the superpowers in the ocean and detailed their concerns in a number of different forums including the Non-Aligned Movement, the British Commonwealth, the Organization of African Unity, and the United Nations. Yet, as the decade wore on, a volatile and constantly-evolving series of factors rooted in domestic politics, geopolitical ambition, and regional diplomacy fractured the area and often put them at odds with one another. As the United States’ appreciation of the unity of the region as a theater of political action grew, theirs eroded. The United States’ interest in the Indian Ocean region was largely a function of its Cold War strategy of containing Soviet, communist, and revolutionary-nationalist influence. As early as 1959, the U.S. Navy’s Long Range Objectives Group noted the relative weakness of American naval forces in the Indian Ocean and the growing Soviet interest in extending its military presence there. Drawing on the experience of the “island hopping” campaign of the Pacific War, naval planners contended that the United States must control “strategic islands” of their own in the Indian Ocean. It was not until the early 1960s, however, when Britain’s influence in the Arabian Peninsula and Persian Gulf began to decline, that U.S. interest in the development of Indian Ocean bases accelerated.11 National Security Council staff member Robert Komer, presaging Brzezinski’s formulation of the “arc of crisis,” noted to President Kennedy in June 1963 that “It is a simple fact that our greatest lack of conventional deterrent power lies along the broad arc from Suez to Singapore… . We have traditionally left the defense of this region to the British, yet their strength is waning at a time when we face a potential show of force or actual combat needs ranging from Saudi Arabia to the Persian Gulf and Iran through India and Burma to Malaysia.” Clearly a greater U.S. military presence in the Indian Ocean was required to serve these contingencies.12 Diego Garcia, a V-shaped atoll in the Chagos Archipelago administered by the British island of Mauritius, seemed especially promising for military use, and the United States asked that a joint Anglo-American team survey the island as soon as possible.13 In October 1965, the British Cabinet approved an Order in Council to detach Diego Garcia and its neighboring islands from Mauritius and the Seychelles, and the following month the British government announced the creation of the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), a dependent entity administered directly from London. In December 1966, the United States and Britain signed twin political and economic agreements governing issues of sovereignty and joint use of any facilities constructed in the new BIOT, and in 1970, U.S. and British officials announced jointly their plans to proceed with the development of Diego Garcia.14 In March 1968, just two months after Prime Minister Harold Wilson’s Labour government announced plans to end Britain’s permanent military role “East of Suez,” a Russian naval task force sailed into the Indian Ocean for the first time in more than sixty years. Four vessels, the vanguard of a new Soviet Indian Ocean squadron, called at ports on the Indian subcontinent, the Persian Gulf, and the East African coast. Naval analysts disagreed on the purpose of the Soviet deployment, but it is likely that the Soviets hoped to counter the growing presence of U.S. guided missile submarines in the ocean as well as the nascent U.S. military facility on Diego Garcia. They may also have wished to show the Soviet flag and establish assets with which to secure important sea lines of communication to East Asia.15 Their deployment certainly engendered deep concern in Washington and, especially, London. The British Defence Ministry fretted that if Soviet ships in the Indian Ocean “interfered with the passage of merchant ships going round the Cape, they would immediately interrupt the bulk of oil deliveries from the Persian Gulf to African states and Europe. This would enable them to throttle trade and industry within a relatively short time.”16 Foreign Secretary Alec Douglas-Home wrote to his Cabinet colleague Julian Amery that the ocean guarded the trade routes and lines of transportation between Britain and its Commonwealth partners in Southeast Asia and Australia.17 Thus, they imagined the Indian Ocean through the lens of their imperial experiences and entertained a mental map of the ocean as it existed in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a major thoroughfare of empire. While U.S. strategic planners worked to incorporate the Indian Ocean into the global architecture of their containment policy, officials in Whitehall strove to ensure that Britain remained influential in the affairs of the ocean and its littoral. To do so, they recognized, would require them to forge new cooperative ties with the United States that would allow them to co-opt American power in the service of their more regionally-oriented diplomacy. The mental map from which they worked placed the Indian Ocean squarely in the middle of Britain’s traditional strategic and economic interests in Asia and East Africa. The United States and the Indian Ocean’s Evolving Strategic Geography, 1970–1976 At Chequers in October 1970 Prime Minister Edward Heath implored President Richard Nixon to take the Soviet naval presence in the Indian Ocean seriously and asked for joint Anglo-American talks on the region. When Heath visited Washington early the next year, he continued to press Nixon on the need for close attention to Indian Ocean security.18 Heath’s efforts led the Nixon administration to launch the first of three major studies of U.S. interests and strategy in the Indian Ocean. National Security Study Memorandum (NSSM) 104 asked for an interagency “assessment of possible Soviet naval threats to U.S. interests in the Indian Ocean area and the development of friendly naval force and basing alternatives consistent with varying judgments about possible threats and interests over the 1971–1975 period.”19 The study prepared in response to the NSSM concluded that “the US has a low level of interest in the Indian Ocean, but nonetheless required access to the region for a variety of purposes, chief among them oil from the Persian Gulf (at that time principally for Europe and Japan).”20 It also required that U.S. policymakers consider the unity of the Indian Ocean as a region and revealed much about the “mental maps” with which they approached the issue. In preparation for a discussion of the NSSM, the National Security Council’s Senior Review Group (SRG) considered a paper that concluded: “It is difficult to identify ‘Indian Ocean interests’ since the Indian Ocean is not in any sense a political unit. Aside from the nearly omnipresent fact of underdevelopment the littoral states share few interests and little sense of community.”21 Gary G. Sick, then a junior Navy officer serving in the office of the assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, wrote later that the SRG concluded “the Indian Ocean could not be regarded as a political unit. There was simply too much diversity to consider it as a whole.”22 Very shortly thereafter, National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger commissioned a “Follow-on Study of Strategy Toward the Indian Ocean” (NSSM-110), which “directed that a further assessment be prepared outlining alternative U.S. strategies through 1975 for dealing with the increase in Soviet activities in the Indian Ocean area.”23 The NSC staff again noted “the littoral’s fragmented character and lack of unifying strategic issues.”24 When the SRG met in April 1971 to discuss the study, Kissinger began the meeting by asking “how fruitful is it to talk about the Indian Ocean as one unit? There are so many different countries and interests involved that it might be misleading to talk about our ‘relatively slight’ interest in the Indian Ocean. If we add up our interests in the littoral countries it might be a helluva lot more.”25 Kissinger was tentatively suggesting that the conventional wisdom among policymakers, that the Indian Ocean touched on a motley and disorganized assemblage of East African, Middle Eastern, and South and Southeast Asian states and peoples, should perhaps be reconsidered. A new mental map that brought together the ocean and its littoral states was beginning to take shape. Governments along the Indian Ocean’s littoral were also constructing new mental maps of the region. The Ceylonese government of Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike, for example, was working energetically to transform the turbulent Indian Ocean area into a politically coherent and demilitarized “zone of peace.” Bandaranaike’s motives were complex and were shaped by genuine conviction, political calculation, and diplomatic expediency. She assumed office as the first modern female head of state in 1960 determined to advance the principle of non-alignment and the “spirit of Bandung.”26 Bandaranaike first proposed the idea of a demilitarized Indian Ocean at the Non-Aligned Movement’s (NAM’s) 1964 Cairo conference but spelled out her vision more fully at the NAM’s third summit in Lusaka, Zambia in September 1970. At Ceylon’s urging, the conference resolutions included “A Declaration calling upon all States to consider and respect the Indian Ocean as a zone of peace from which great power rivalries and competition as well as bases conceived in the context of such rivalries and competition, either army, navy or air force bases, are excluded. The area should also be free of nuclear weapons.”27 Bandaranaike clearly saw the peace zone concept as a way to enhance Ceylon’s influence within the politically tumultuous NAM, bolster her political standing at home, and promote greater unity among the nations and peoples of the Indian Ocean basin. At the January 1971 Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Singapore, the Ceylonese delegation emphasized that “A peace zone in the Indian Ocean will provide countries of this region with time to develop trends towards integration and cooperation so that in the course of time the Indian Ocean region could move from an area of low solidarity to an area of high solidarity. In effect a peace zone will provide the transitional minimum conditions for the development of an ‘Indian Ocean community’ in which problems of security will be dealt with by orderly and institutional means for promoting peaceful change.”28 Thus, the mental map by which Bandaranaike made her diplomacy was aspirational and quite different from those entertained by U.S. policymakers. Articulated in meetings in East Africa and Southeast Asia, it encompassed a unified Indian Ocean region under NAM and, perhaps, Ceylonese leadership. Bandaranaike’s government also co-sponsored, with Tanzania, a resolution in the United Nations General Assembly to declare the Indian Ocean a “zone of peace.” The General Assembly passed Resolution 2832 (XXVI) on December 16, 1971.29 In December 1972 it established the Ad Hoc Committee on the Indian Ocean, which was tasked with identifying ways to implement the 1971 resolution.30 Sri Lanka (as Ceylon restyled itself earlier that year) held the chair, as it does today. Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, members of the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs took up the Indian Ocean and its issues during the summer of 1971. The impending departure of Britain from its permanent military facilities “East of Suez,” the growing Soviet naval presence in the ocean, the continuing construction of the U.S. military facility on Diego Garcia, and political turbulence in Ceylon and East Pakistan led the Subcommittee on National Security Policy and Scientific Developments to hold four days of hearings on the political and strategic future of the ocean. In his letter transmitting the report of the subcommittee, chairman Clement J. Zablocki of Wisconsin wrote in explicitly geographic and cartographic terms about the reasons he believed the ocean had not received its due from U.S. policymakers or the American public. “For most Americans,” he began, “the Indian Ocean has a split personality. Our maps of the world, centered as they are upon the United States, provide an intact view of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, but sever the Indian Ocean in two. This geographic bifurcation of the world’s third largest body of water is an expression of the fragmented view which we have of the Indian Ocean and its littoral.” Figure 1: View largeDownload slide “The World,” a map published by the National Geographic Society in 1970, depicts the bifurcated and marginalized Indian Ocean lamented by House Foreign Affairs subcommittee chairman Rep. Clement Zablocki during the July 1971 hearings. Figure 1: View largeDownload slide “The World,” a map published by the National Geographic Society in 1970, depicts the bifurcated and marginalized Indian Ocean lamented by House Foreign Affairs subcommittee chairman Rep. Clement Zablocki during the July 1971 hearings. Zablocki decried the “failure to see the Indian Ocean and its littoral states as a single entity” and the “lack of a central vision” that resulted in a “fundamental lack of concern on the part of the United States toward the Indian Ocean.” Why, he asked, did the U.S. military field an Atlantic Command and a Pacific Command, but no comparable command to oversee affairs in the Indian Ocean? Why did the State Department have three bureaus with responsibilities for portions of the ocean’s littoral and “no central organizational focus on its affairs”? Why was there such a paucity of academic attention and expertise on the ocean and its surrounding states?31 Zablocki was clearly arguing that the mental map most Americans had of the Indian Ocean, grounded in outdated cartographic conventions, did not allow them to perceive the interests they had at stake in an increasingly important region of the world. Maps, both physical and mental, Zablocki was suggesting, played crucial roles in the ways Americans understood their proper role in the world. In fact, during the years of the East-West struggle “maps, offered important definitions of ownership, knowledge, containment, commitment, control, and even resistance that formed our perspective of the Cold War. Maps located these central ideological tensions between American national interests and America’s international aspirations.”32 A series of events in the Indian Ocean and its littoral in the early 1970s changed the ways U.S. policymakers envisioned the region and internalized its strategic geography. During the December 1971 war between India and Pakistan, President Nixon ordered a carrier task force, including the U.S.S. Enterprise, to the Bay of Bengal in the eastern Indian Ocean. An NSC paper noted that “Seventh Fleet units, including carriers, had entered the Indian Ocean before, but not as part of a deliberate gesture.”33 The task force’s purpose was left ambiguous, although as Gary Sick notes “it was clearly intended as a gesture of reassurance to Pakistan (and possibly China), as well as a veiled warning to India to restrict its war aims with respect to Pakistan.” The deployment also provoked a Soviet response. Moscow sent a “considerable naval force” to the Indian Ocean, which remained in the region even after the U.S. task force departed.34 The October 1973 Middle East war marked a watershed in the way that U.S. planners considered the Indian Ocean. The Arab states’ oil embargo on the United States made the Nixon administration acutely aware of the vulnerability of Persian Gulf energy supplies and their associated sea lanes through the Indian Ocean. On the eve of the conflict, the United States imported relatively little oil from the Middle East, but Persian Gulf petroleum made up more than forty percent of Western European oil imports and accounted for more than a third of total Japanese oil consumption.35 The energy security of its key allies thus compelled U.S. policymakers to think carefully about the sea lines of communication through the ocean. Consequently, the president ordered the U.S.S. Hancock carrier task force to the region in November where it remained until the following April, and Defense Secretary James Schlesinger announced that the U.S. Navy would make more regular deployments to the ocean. In January, the Nixon administration requested funds from Congress to augment the facilities on Diego Garcia, in effect transforming the site from what had been termed an “austere communications facility” into a “modest support complex” for U.S. Navy activities in the Indian Ocean.36 Figure 2: View largeDownload slide Map of the Indian Ocean from “Proposed Expansion of U.S. Military Facilities in the Indian Ocean,” Hearings before the Subcommittee on the Near East and South Asia of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, 93rd Congress, 2nd Session, February 21; March 6, 12, 14, 20, 1974 (Washington, DC, 1974), vii. Figure 2: View largeDownload slide Map of the Indian Ocean from “Proposed Expansion of U.S. Military Facilities in the Indian Ocean,” Hearings before the Subcommittee on the Near East and South Asia of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, 93rd Congress, 2nd Session, February 21; March 6, 12, 14, 20, 1974 (Washington, DC, 1974), vii. The request engendered a heated and lengthy debate on Capitol Hill, which turned on whether the United States should pursue a course that would incur costly new foreign policy obligations in the immediate aftermath of the Vietnam conflict. The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s subcommittee on the Near East and South Asia conducted hearings in March 1974 that again examined U.S. interests and capabilities in the Indian Ocean. The hearing report included a map that illuminated the new ways that American planners were beginning to see the Indian Ocean. It depicted a capacious ocean stretching from East Africa to the Northwest Cape of Australia and from the ocean’s southern latitudes to the Arabian Peninsula, Persian Gulf, and Indian subcontinent. At the map’s center was Diego Garcia with distance figures inscribed—2,000 miles to Dar es Salaam, 1,000 miles to India’s southern tip, 2,400 miles to Bangkok. Clearly, the island and its military facilities were presented as the emerging lynchpin of U.S. interests throughout the entire Indian Ocean basin, from Southeast Asia to Southern Africa. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Elmo Zumwalt made the case for an augmented Diego Garcia in the starkly geopolitical terms supported by the map. The Indian Ocean, he argued, was directly linked to U.S. interests in Europe and Asia and was becoming a focal point of American economic and strategic interests in the developing world. The function of Diego Garcia, he contended, was to provide support to U.S. naval operations and to redress the imbalances U.S. forces faced when operating in the area. He reiterated the distances from Diego Garcia to key points on the Indian Ocean’s shores—1,800 miles to the Arabian Peninsula, 2,100 miles to the Strait of Malacca. In a very visual way, and in terms compelling to a senior naval officer, Zumwalt described the new geography of U.S. interests in the Indian Ocean and its littoral.37 The Nixon administration’s consideration of the Indian Ocean continued in the spring with a study commissioned by National Security Study Memorandum 199, “Indian Ocean Strategy,” which evaluated U.S. interests and posture in the region following the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. It noted the greatly augmented Soviet naval presence in the Indian Ocean following the deployment of the Hancock task force and the need to secure the sea lanes carrying increasingly vital Persian Gulf oil to the West. The study called for the further improvement of the Diego Garcia facility and continued periodic carrier deployments to the ocean.38 During the debate on Diego Garcia’s expansion, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) produced for the public an Indian Ocean Atlas that was widely disseminated. The volume’s purpose, according to its authors, was “to provide, in maps, graphics, photographs, and a minimum of text, a general understanding and appreciation of the Indian Ocean area.”39 Its larger purpose was undoubtedly to help frame the debate on Indian Ocean security and influence the geographical perceptions of policymakers and observers around the world. Of course, every map is an argument, and physical maps, like mental maps, reflect and shape the ways that policymakers want to see the world. They are, as Timothy Barney notes, “ideological blueprints—they frame the language of politics in a melding of signs and symbols that both reflect and create colorful and charged world views.”40 The maps and accompanying text provided by CIA geographers and cartographers were no different. In several cases they subtly underscored the U.S. government’s position on Indian Ocean matters while calling into question the positions of its rivals and critics. In others they conveyed the idea, inaccurately, that the United States was at a distinct disadvantage militarily in the ocean to the Soviets and their regional clients. Adopting a tone of studious objectivity, the authors of the atlas included a section on “Political Relationships” with two pages devoted to “‘Zone of Peace’?”—a special article on the issue. They noted, “Traditionally there has been little unity within the Indian Ocean region, and throughout history no single indigenous power has been able to dominate… . With the departure of the British, the ocean becomes another arena for competition and confrontation between the two superpowers.” The CIA geographers concluded, “Whether the Indian Ocean can become a zone of peace in the foreseeable future is questionable … The peace zone in the Indian Ocean envisaged in the 1971 proposal is far from a reality.”41 Thus, even as a new mental map of the Indian Ocean as a unified strategic theater was coalescing among U.S. policymakers, the atlas undermined the idea of a progressive Indian Ocean community of nations espoused by the authors of the peace zone resolution. Figure 3: View largeDownload slide “Significant Facilities,” a map from the CIA’s Indian Ocean Atlas (Washington, DC, 1976), 26. Figure 3: View largeDownload slide “Significant Facilities,” a map from the CIA’s Indian Ocean Atlas (Washington, DC, 1976), 26. The article also featured a map of the ocean detailing “Significant Facilities” used by regional and foreign militaries. Diego Garcia was once again centered squarely and was labeled innocently as a communications facility under British sovereignty where the United States exercised “user privileges.” Three other regional facilities at which the United States exercised such privileges are featured: Manama (Bahrain), Singapore, Northwest Cape (Australia), and Mahé Island (Seychelles). Meanwhile, Soviet facilities, and even anchorages in the ocean, were shown to outnumber their U.S. counterparts by two-to-one.42 The net effect was to suggest that the United States, with interests throughout the Indian Ocean basin, was outnumbered by facilities from which the Soviets could project military power. A more discerning reader would note that many of the Soviet-controlled or allied facilities were quite small or were used infrequently by Moscow and posed little threat to U.S. influence in the ocean. Thus, the map reflected American strategic anxieties and justified U.S. military expansion in the region. The Indian Ocean Atlas was widely circulated and was even consulted by Soviet officials.43 As the Horn of Africa became a site of turbulence that seriously compromised U.S.-Soviet détente, the attention of U.S. policymakers continued to focus on the shores of the Indian Ocean. In Berbera, Somalia, the Soviets completed a military facility in early 1975 intended to assemble and house missiles for use by the Soviet Navy as well as an airfield from which Soviet aircraft might perform open-ocean reconnaissance and anti-shipping missions in the western Indian Ocean. “It is evident,” Defense Secretary Schlesinger told the Senate Armed Services Committee in June 1975, “that the USSR is in the process of establishing a significant new facility, capable of supporting their naval and air activities in the northwest Indian Ocean.”44 Toward the “Arc of Crisis,” 1977–1978 Turmoil on the Horn became critical in 1977 and 1978. Soviet weapons and Cuban military advisers poured into the region as Somalia and Ethiopia waged war over the desolate Ogaden region. Expelled from their former ally, Somalia, in November 1977, the Soviets shipped large quantities of arms to their new client, Ethiopia, through South Yemen and then across the Gulf of Aden. Significant numbers of Soviet warships supported the operation, and Moscow was granted naval rights to ports in Ethiopia’s Dahlak Archipelago in the Red Sea. In Washington, President Carter and National Security Advisor Brzezinski grew alarmed that Moscow was acquiring the ability to jeopardize the sea lanes to the Persian Gulf and mount military actions against targets in the Middle East. NSC staff member Paul B. Henze elaborated the mental map becoming firmly established in the Carter White House when he wrote to Brzezinski on July 27, 1978, “The Horn remains an important area. Its proximity to the Arabian Peninsula, to the ‘soft underbelly’ of Asia, and its relationship to the Indian Ocean all contribute to its strategic significance. Africa and the Middle East meet here.” By December, the revolutionary Ethiopian government signed a friendship treaty with Moscow. A key node on Brzezinski’s “arc of crisis” was firmly established.45 The other portions of the arc fell into place by the end of the year. To the north of the Horn of Africa, across the mouth of the Red Sea, the Soviet client regime in South Yemen was believed to be working to subvert the pro-Western government of neighboring North Yemen, alarming Saudi Arabia and threatening war and instability on the Arabian Peninsula. In Afghanistan, a Marxist coup in April installed the volatile pro-Soviet regime of Nur Mohammed Taraki in Kabul and touched off a series of events that led to Moscow’s eventual military intervention in the country. Provoking the most anxiety, though, were events in the Persian Gulf where imperial Iran, the traditional bulwark of pro-Western stability in the region, succumbed to violence and revolution in the autumn, jeopardizing the regime of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. A memorandum to Secretary of State Cyrus Vance ventured, “Our Indian Ocean policy could … be directly affected. Depending on the type of government which comes to power in Tehran, we might, as a means of safeguarding our interests, want to increase our presence in the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf.”46 Against this backdrop Brzezinski began to press his “arc of crisis thesis.”47 At the end of November, the national security adviser requested that the Pentagon “sketch out broad options for US strategy in a general region from the Horn of Africa to India.”48 On December 2, in a weekly NSC report to President Carter, he wrote, “Alert: The Arc of Crisis. If you draw an arc on the globe, stretching from Chittagong (Bangladesh) through Islamabad to Aden, you will be pointing to the area of currently our greatest vulnerability. Fragile social and political structures in a region of vital importance to us are threatened with fragmentation. The resulting political vacuum might well be filled by elements more sympathetic to the Soviet Union.”49 Just eighteen days later, Brzezinski articulated the arc of crisis to his Foreign Policy Association audience and created an immediate stir. Just what composed this “arc of crisis” wondered the media and foreign policy cognoscenti? The Time cover article the following January ventured, “In the broadest and grandest of measurements, this crisis crescent envisioned by President Carter’s National Security Adviser reaches all the way from Indochina to Southern Africa. In practical terms, however, what Brzezinski is really speaking of are the nations that stretch across the southern flank of the Soviet Union from the Indian subcontinent to Turkey, and southward through the Arabian Peninsula to the Horn of Africa.”50 Accompanying the article was an inset map that detailed the region from northeastern Africa through the Arabian Peninsula and Persian Gulf to India. Shaded differently on the map are nations characterized starkly as either “CENTO members” or “Soviet-influenced states.” To make clear the economic value of the region, Time’s graphic artist depicted an oil tanker sailing through the Strait of Hormuz into the western Indian Ocean and “tanker routes” heading southeast along India’s coast, presumably to East Asia, and southwest towards the Gulf of Aden and, perhaps, the Cape of Good Hope.51 More strikingly, though, Time’s cover that week bares a dramatically artistic representation of the “arc of crisis” in the form of a pictorial map. On it a Russian bear, its head resting on the Central Asian Soviet republics, glares down menacingly on the lands to its southwest. The nations from Pakistan to Somalia are burnished in gold and tightly frame the Arabian Sea. Henrikson, in his 1980 article, devotes a lengthy footnote to a close reading of the map’s imagery, which he notes, suggests not only the malevolent designs of Soviet Russia on the region, but “evokes the ‘Fertile Crescent’ and the increasingly potent symbol of the holy crescent of Islam.” He concludes, “a State Department planning officer readily acknowledged to me that the Time cover was ‘a pretty good example’ of how map images reflect and shape political thinking.”52 The “arc of crisis,” concluded the Time article, comprised an area increasingly vital to the West’s economic health. Its stability was jeopardized by domestic political turmoil and Soviet military adventurism but also, it appeared, by the growing threat of volatile Islamic fundamentalism. This new phenomenon, which was roiling Iran, posed dangers insufficiently appreciated by policymakers in Washington. The Carter administration’s anxiety that the United States appeared impotent in the face of these challenges bolstered its determination to act assertively and to reconceptualize its goals and policies in the region. To do so required that the United States tie its military assets in the Indian Ocean to a new integrated framework of containment in the Persian Gulf region and the area soon to be labeled Southwest Asia. The Indian Ocean and the U.S. “Integrated Strategy for Regional Security,” 1979–1980 On January 16, 1979, the Carter White House was jolted by the news that the Shah of Iran had been forced to flee his country. As Gary Sick wrote, “The sudden and total collapse of the shah’s regime in Iran … effectively demolished a decade of U.S. strategy in the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf.”53 Just five weeks later, the president of North Yemen informed the U.S. ambassador that the government of Marxist South Yemen, with support from the Soviet Union, had attacked his country. War had erupted on the Arabian Peninsula.54 The twin crises in the Persian Gulf and Arabia convinced the Carter administration that it must act. The hawkish Brzezinski, who regularly couched his analysis and policy proposals in sweeping geopolitical terms, became the dominant voice in the president’s foreign policy circle. On the other hand, Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, known for his conciliatory and temporizing approach, saw his star eclipsed in the crisis atmosphere of the period. When Defense Secretary Harold Brown departed to survey the situation in the Middle East, Brzezinski was tasked with drafting President Carter’s instructions to him. His brief required Brown to “forcefully express our recognition of the strategic importance of the region, its strategic location, its vital resources, and its crucial role in establishing healthy patterns of internal development and North-South relations.” The secretary should “[m]ake it clear that we see the region to be under serious threat from Soviet power which is systematically exploiting internal instability as well as regional conflicts.” Finally, Brown was to emphasize to the region’s leaders that to counter these threats, the United States identified the need for “an integrated strategy for regional security to which it is prepared to make a strong political and military contribution.”55 For the next two years, Brzezinski’s NSC worked to design and implement this “integrated strategy for regional security” through its Special Coordination Committee and Policy Review Committee.56 The national security adviser’s visualization of an “arc of crisis” essentially established the terms of the task and set its geographic parameters. The trope of the “arc of crisis” proved very persistent and continued to focus public and official attention on this highly specific geography. Soviet officials saw it as especially pernicious, and the Soviet ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Dobrynin, dismissed it as “grandiose” and “notorious” in his 1995 memoir. Still, “it made for excellent propaganda,” he wrote, “and ended up in the vocabulary of numerous commentators and on the cover of Time magazine.”57 When President Carter met Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev in Vienna in June 1979, Brezhnev raised the issue directly. The memorandum of their conversation relates that “Brezhnev had been told that a rather strange theory had gained currency in the United States, a theory known as the arc of crisis … Brezhnev wished to say that this entire theory was an absolute fairy tale.”58 U.S. planners thought carefully throughout 1979 about how to tie the defense requirements of the Persian Gulf to the military assets the United States had marshaled, or could quickly assemble, in the Indian Ocean. In April, the NSC’s Special Coordination Committee approved an increased naval presence in the ocean and ordered a carrier task force into the Arabian Sea. At key meetings in June the NSC’s Policy Review Committee explored the necessity and feasibility of increasing the Navy’s presence in the ocean on a more permanent basis and again augmenting existing facilities on Diego Garcia. The Joint Chiefs of Staff revived their dormant planning for a Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force and contemplated Indian Ocean resources to put at its disposal.59 U.S. policymakers believed the Indian Ocean to be of subsidiary strategic interest to the Persian Gulf. They tasked the resources which could be stationed in the ocean with keeping Gulf oil transshipment routes free and preparing to counter Soviet or local revolutionary moves that endangered them. As one State Department official phrased it, “[W]e are planning an Indian Ocean presence as if the Indian Ocean were somehow coterminous with the Persian Gulf area.”60 The documentary record from the period is strewn with references variously to the “Persian Gulf,” the “Persian Gulf Region,” the “Persian Gulf/Indian Ocean,” “Indian Ocean/Persian Gulf,” or very occasionally, the “Indian Ocean.” The ways U.S. officials limned the region reflects the inexact and often malleable relationship between strategic and purely geographic concepts. By juggling these terms, planners expressed their uncertainty about the connection between the hard kernel of U.S. interests in the oil-producing regions of the Gulf and the Gulf’s wider geographic context, which included the Indian Ocean. At times, they appear to have imagined the Indian Ocean as an appendage of the Persian Gulf rather than the reverse. Iran’s seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran on November 4 and the Soviets’ military invasion of Afghanistan on Christmas Day galvanized the Carter administration’s planning for a regional security framework in the area. A second aircraft carrier was dispatched to the Indian Ocean, and by mid-December the first joint State and Defense Department teams were dispatched to Somalia, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, and Oman. Their mission was to identify potential military sites along the Indian Ocean’s shores, reassure local governments of the United States’ guarantee of their security, and, most importantly, establish the groundwork for negotiations to obtain local base rights.61 When Soviet forces moved into Afghanistan, U.S. officials were compelled to refine their “mental maps” of the area once again. At the beginning of the 1970s, the Indian Ocean had appeared to offer solutions to the security of the Persian Gulf in the form of resources from which the United States could act in the “arc of crisis.” Now the ocean seemed to be vulnerable to a historically-motivated Russian drive to reach its shores. As Brzezinski wrote to President Carter on December 26, “If the Soviets succeed in Afghanistan, and Pakistan acquiesces, the age-long dream of Moscow to have direct access to the Indian Ocean will have been fulfilled… . It could produce Soviet presence right down to the edge of the Arabian and Oman Gulfs.”62 When President Carter addressed the nation about the Afghanistan crisis on January 4, 1980, he declared, “A Soviet-occupied Afghanistan threatens both Iran and Pakistan and is a steppingstone to possible control over much of the world’s oil supplies.” As he spoke the camera focused tightly on a map of Afghanistan then panned slowly out to reveal the whole region, the Arabian Sea centered prominently for television viewers.63 A Defense Intelligence Commentary from January 7 offered validation: “The key motivation that propelled Moscow’s move was to bring its long-standing strategic goals within reach. Control of Afghanistan would be a major step toward overland access to the Indian Ocean and domination of the Asian sub-continent.”64 The Russian quest for “warm water ports” on the Indian Ocean was a trope Western policymakers and analysts invoked frequently in the months and years following the Soviet invasion. Its roots were deep and lay in the so-called “Testament of Peter the Great,” a document of uncertain origin that emerged during the Napoleonic era. The widely-discredited tract nevertheless persuaded generations of geopolitical thinkers from the nineteenth century British Empire to the Cold War councils of the United States that it was a reliable guide to Russian intentions.65 Further complicating the mental maps of U.S. foreign policymakers considering the Indian Ocean was a newly popularized geographic term, “Southwest Asia.” John C. Campbell, writing in Foreign Affairs, noted, “From the moment of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979, Washington began to talk of ‘Southwest Asia’ instead of the Middle East as the area of crisis and of American concern.”66 He concluded later, “‘Southwest Asia’ includes everything from the eastern fringes of the Arab world to the western limits of the Indian subcontinent. Roughly, it is Zbigniew Brzezinski’s ‘arc of crisis.’”67 Writing for the blog Middle East Strategy at Harvard, Martin Kramer explains, “Cold War strategists wished to emphasize that the region was crucial not because it was east of us, but because it was immediately southwest of the Soviet Union, which had a plan to push through to the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf. The sooner Americans started thinking about the region as ‘Southwest Asia,’ the sooner they would grasp the nature of the threat.”68 Southwest Asia was not a new label. The British geopolitical thinker Sir Olaf Caroe employed it in his 1951 treatise, Wells of Power: The Oilfields of South-western Asia: A Regional and Global Study, and the National Geographic Society published maps of “Southwest Asia” in 1952 and 1963. But now, the term was inescapable. Brzezinski used it in his December 26 missive to the president, and Carter repeated it in his January 4 television address. Just a month later, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee began hearings on “U.S. Security Interests and Policies in Southwest Asia.”69 “Southwest Asia” certainly encompassed a larger region than either the “Persian Gulf” or “Middle East,” and it comprised an area that faced the Indian Ocean on a much broader front. This, perhaps, made it easier for U.S. planners to envision the ocean’s strategic value to the area. The NSC’s Special Coordination Committee endorsed a massive expansion program of U.S. military facilities on Diego Garcia in January entailing an expenditure of $500 million over five years.70 Renewed efforts were made to acquire additional military facilities on the Indian Ocean’s shores. A memorandum to Brzezinski on January 28 observed, “The Indian Ocean access campaign is at the cutting edge of our effort to build a security structure in SW Asia in terms of its importance and its difficulty.”71 Nevertheless, agreements were initialed with the Kenyan government for U.S. access to the port of Mombasa, the Somali government granted permission for use of the former Soviet base at Berbera, and the Sultan of Oman granted the United States use of the air field on the island of Masirah.72 Brzezinski encouraged President Carter to think in broader historical terms about the role the United States should play in the Southwest Asia/Persian Gulf/Indian Ocean region. Just as President Harry Truman had established the parameters of U.S. Cold War policies in Europe through the 1947 Truman Doctrine, Carter could establish a doctrine to secure U.S. interests in another strategically vital part of the globe. The National Security Advisor wrote to the president, “The Soviet intervention in the present case is both more blatant and more brutal than in 1947, and the Gulf is unquestionably more vital to Western interests today than were Greece and Turkey 30 years ago.”73 Carter, of course, articulated his own “doctrine” in his State of the Union message on January 23, declaring, “An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.”74 For the remainder of his time in office, the Carter administration, with National Security Adviser Brzezinski in the lead, worked to formalize the “strategic framework” for the Persian Gulf, make the region “the third strategic zone after Europe and East Asia for U.S. security,” and put U.S. Indian Ocean military assets at its disposal.75 B-52 aircraft began reconnaissance flights over the Indian Ocean and an amphibious-ready group, comprising 1,800 Marines, deployed to the Indian Ocean.76 The Carter administration established no permanent Indian Ocean numbered fleet, but by the end of 1980 it created a new Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force, and a unified military command with responsibility for the area between Kenya and Kazakhstan existed in embryonic form.77 The Indian Ocean region, once bifurcated and peripheral on the maps consulted by U.S. strategic planners, had fully entered their consciousness, remade their mental geographies, and become the fulcrum of a new set of security policies. As U.S. officials’ mental map of the Indian Ocean as a coherent theater of Cold War policy and strategy was coalescing, the littoral states that had entreated the world a decade earlier to recognize the ocean’s fundamental unity found themselves increasingly uncertain about it. Only a year after proposing the Indian Ocean “peace zone,” Prime Minister Bandaranaike of Ceylon was obliged to reconsider the underpinnings of her initiative. In April 1971, Ceylon exploded in violence as the ultra-left Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) insurrection threatened to bring down the Bandaranaike government. The rebellion was quelled with materiel aid from the United States, the Soviet Union, China, India, and Pakistan, but it left the prime minister feeling acutely vulnerable.78 The conclusion of the Indo-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation in August appeared to strengthen the Soviet position in South Asia and promised to embolden Indian diplomacy in the region. Finally, the growing East Pakistan crisis threatened the subcontinent with war as December approached. During a conversation that month concerning the Indian Ocean as a peace zone, the U.S. ambassador in Colombo, Robert Strausz-Hupé, suggested to the prime minister that “the time could come when she would be happy to look out the window and see two U.S. aircraft carriers in the roadstead to which she nodded assent.”79 U.S.-Sri Lankan relations steadily improved throughout the 1970s as U.S. financial and food assistance poured into the country. Even though Sri Lanka continued to chair the UN Ad Hoc Committee on the Indian Ocean, its calls for the demilitarization of the ocean were considerably muted. Throughout the decade, the Indian Ocean states evinced a host of conflicting ideas and attitudes about the coherence of the region, its future, and their roles within it. Australia, tied to the United States through the ANZUS Treaty, found itself attempting to balance its interests in a conflict-free Indian Ocean with its close relationship to Washington. While the Liberal governments of William McMahon and Malcolm Fraser (1971–1972 and 1975–1983) strongly supported U.S. and British policies in the region, the Labour government of Gough Whitlam (1972–1975) worked to establish an independent policy in the Indian Ocean more closely aligned with those of its regional neighbors. Whitlam endorsed the idea of the IOZP but quietly assured the U.S. government that it would not oppose the expansion of the Diego Garcia facility.80 The Indian and Iranian governments, on the other hand, aspired to exercise political hegemony and naval dominance there. The Shah went so far as to propose in 1974 an Indian Ocean economic union, under Iranian auspices, which would include the states not only of the ocean’s western regions but also Burma, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, and Australia.81 Not content to act as the United States’ gendarme in the Persian Gulf, the Shah told Henry Kissinger, “We need a strong navy to get into the Indian Ocean” and expressed his desire to purchase U.S. Spruance-class destroyers with which to do so. He also made clear his intention to work with the apartheid government of South Africa in the ocean.82 The South Africans, who shared no political interests or sympathies with the NAM members behind the IOZP movement, saw their naval presence in the Indian Ocean and nominal status as defenders of the “Cape Route,” as assets that they could parlay to end their diplomatic isolation.83 Some states in the region were frankly apathetic or uninformed about Indian Ocean strategic issues. In response to a State Department telegram that requested information about regional governments’ public positions on the possible expansion of Diego Garcia, Ambassador David Osborne in Rangoon sent an infamous one-sentence reply: “The Burmese think Diego Garcia is a cigar.”84 His point, if not his attitude, was well-taken in Foggy Bottom. Perhaps the most devastating blow to the states proffering a vision of a unified and demilitarized Indian Ocean region came in March 1980 when the United States decided to join the UN Ad Hoc Committee on the Indian Ocean. Since 1972 the committee had worked to promote a vision of “The Third World’s Ocean,” free from superpower competition. As a State Department briefing paper explained, the United States had opted not to participate in the committee because “substantively we opposed the concept itself and tactically we saw little danger of the committee’s work producing tangible results.” Yet, by early 1980, “it was clear that unless we were in the committee to defend ourselves, the Soviets—who had just joined the committee—would have a better chance of damaging U.S. interests … These considerations, along with the opportunity to call the Soviets to account on Afghanistan, prompted our entry into the committee.”85 Thus, the most important forum in which the progressive states of the Third World had sought to promote a unified and cooperative Indian Ocean became a vehicle for U.S.-Soviet political combat. An examination of the contending “mental maps” of the Afro-Asian governments, many of which began the 1970s with a vision of the Indian Ocean as a unified “zone of peace” and U.S. foreign policymakers, who ended the decade with a new blueprint of the region as a coherent theater of diplomacy and strategic planning, may offer a productive new way of interrogating the past of this complex and fascinating area. It certainly affords a window into the ways U.S. policymakers visualized threats, real and imagined, emanating from the region and justified policies that led to a prodigious military buildup in the area and a series of American conflicts along the Indian Ocean’s shores. At the same time, it is useful to remember that scholars as well as policymakers have constructed their own mental maps of the ocean and its environs. These may be more consciously and thoughtfully articulated, but they are constructed nevertheless. The sophisticated work of historians like Pearson, McPherson, Chaudhuri, and Bose has illuminated the economic and social contours of an expansive Indian Ocean area and explicated the commercial and cultural ties that bound it together in centuries past. Their approach invites historians of U.S. foreign relations to contemplate similarly the modern geopolitical and military technological forces that have established the Indian Ocean as a venue of strategic competition and as an imagined geography since the era of Zbigniew Brzezinski’s “arc of crisis.” *The author would like to thank Roham Alvandi, Pierre Asselin, Diane B. Kunz, Melvyn P. Leffler, David S. Painter, Robert B. Rakove, and Mark Spaulding for their comments on earlier drafts of this article and would also like to thank Diplomatic History’s anonymous referees for their thoughtful reading of the manuscript. Footnotes 1 “Remarks of Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinksi, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, to the Foreign Policy Association, Capital Hilton Hotel, Washington, DC,” Office of the White House Press Secretary, December 20, 1978, Staff Offices—Press—Granum, File Unit: 12/12/78 – 12/31/78, container 59, Jimmy Carter Library (hereafter JCL). 2 “The Crescent of Crisis: Iran and a Region of Rising Instability,” Time, January 15, 1979, 18–25. 3 Alan K. Henrikson, “The Geographical ‘Mental Maps’ of American Foreign Policy Makers,” International Political Science Review 1, no. 4 (1980): 495; Henrikson, “Mental Maps,” in Explaining the History of American Foreign Relations, ed. Michael J. Hogan and Thomas G. Paterson (New York, 1991), 177; Henrikson, “Distance and Foreign Policy: A Political Geography Approach,” International Political Science Review 23, no. 4 (2002): 440–41. 4 Robert M. Kitchin, “Cognitive Maps: What Are They and Why Study Them?,” Journal of Environmental Psychology 14, no. 1 (1994): 1–19; Reginald G. Golledge, ed., Wayfaring Behavior: Cognitive Mapping and Other Spatial Processes (Baltimore, MD, 1999); Barbara Tversky, “Cognitive Maps, Cognitive Collages, and Spatial Mental Models,” in Spatial Information Theory: A Theoretical Basis for GIS (2005): 14–24; Lucia F. Jacobs and Francoise Schenk, “Unpacking the Cognitive Map: The Parallel Map Theory of Hippocampal Function,” Psychology Review 110, no. 2 (2003): 285–315. 5 Henrikson, “Mental Maps,” 177–92. 6 Luis da Vinha, “Charting Geographic Mental Maps in Foreign Policy Analysis: A Literature Review,” Human Geography – Journal of Studies and Research in Human Geography 6, no. 1 (2012): 5–17; Vinha, “Falling Dominos or the Role of Geographic Mental Maps in Foreign Policy,” European Journal of Geography 6, no. 4 (2015): 76–87; David Criekmans and Manual Duran, “Mental Maps, Geopolitics, and Foreign Policy Analysis: Basic Analytic Framework and Application to Sub-State Diplomacy in the Mediterranean” (paper, Third Global International Studies Conference, University of Porto, Portugal, August 17, 2011). 7 Aiyaz Husain, Mapping the End of Empire: American and British Strategic Visions in the Postwar World (Cambridge, MA, 2014). Another notable example is Mental Maps in the Era of Détente and the End of the Cold War 1968–91, ed. Steven Casey and Jonathan Wright (New York, 2015). 8 Michael N. Pearson, “History of the Indian Ocean: A Review Essay,” Wasafiri 26, no. 2 (2011): 78–99; Markus P. M. Vink, “Indian Ocean Studies and the ‘New Thalassology,’” Journal of Global History 2, no. 1 (2007): 41–62; Sebastian R. Prange, “Scholars and the Sea: A Historiography of the Indian Ocean,” History Compass 6, no. 5 (2008): 1382–93; S. Arasaratnam, “Recent Trends in the Historiography of the Indian Ocean, 1500–1800,” Journal of World History 1, no. 2 (1990): 225–48; Françoise Vergès, “Writing on Water: Peripheries, Flows, Capital, and Struggles in the Indian Ocean,” Positions 11, no. 1 (2003): 241–57. 9 K. N. Chaudhuri, Trade and Civilization in the Indian Ocean: An Economic History from the Rise of Islam to 1750 (Cambridge, UK, 1985); K. N. Chaudhuri, “The Unity and Disunity of Indian Ocean History from the Rise of Islam to 1750: The Outline of a Theory and Historical Discourse,” Journal of World History 4, no. 1 (1993): 1–21; Kenneth McPherson, The Indian Ocean: A History of People and the Sea (New York, 1998); Michael Pearson, The Indian Ocean (London, 2003); Sugata Bose, A Hundred Horizons: The Indian Ocean in the Age of Global Empire (Cambridge, MA, 2006). 10 Christopher J. Lee, “The Indian Ocean during the Cold War: Thinking through a Critical Geography,” History Compass 11, no. 7 (2013): 524–30. 11 William Stivers, America’s Confrontation with Revolutionary Change in the Middle East (New York, 1986), 43–59. The most important secondary literature on Anglo-American relations in the Indian Ocean includes Peter Harris, “Decolonizing the Special Relationship: Diego Garcia, the Chagossians, and Anglo-American Relations,” Review of International Studies 39 (2013): 707–27; David Vine, Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia (Princeton, NJ, 2009); Peter H. Sand, United States and Britain in Diego Garcia: The Future of a Controversial Base (New York, 2009); Vytautus B. Bandjunis, Diego Garcia: Creation of the Indian Ocean Base (San Jose, CA, 2001); Monoranjan Bezboruah, U.S. Strategy in the Indian Ocean: The International Response (New York, 1977); P. G. Boxhall, “The Strategic Use of Islands in a Troubled Ocean,” Journal of the Royal United Service Institution, 111 (1966): 336–41; Alastair Buchan, “Britain in the Indian Ocean,” International Affairs 42, no. 2 (1966): 184–93; Joel Laurus, “Negotiating Independence: Mauritius and Diego Garcia,” The Round Table 294 (1985): 132–45; Paul B. Ryan, “Diego Garcia,” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 110 (1984): 132–36; D. C. Watt, “Britain and the Indian Ocean: Diplomacy Before Defense,” The Political Quarterly 42, no. 3 (1971): 306–15. 12 Memorandum for the President from R. W. Komer, June 19, 1963, National Security File, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Staff Memos—Komer, box 322, John F. Kennedy Library (hereafter JFKL). 13 “Defense Problems in the Indian Ocean Area,” Attachment to State Department Airgram, A-2170, London to Washington, January 21, 1964, file DEF 1 IND, Central Files, 1964–1966, Record Group 59 (hereafter RG 59), National Archives and Records Administration (hereafter NARA). 14 “Indian Ocean Islands,” Letter from the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs to Secretary McNamara, June 12, 1965, Foreign Relations of the United States (hereafter FRUS), 1964–1968, vol. XXI, Near East; Congo; Africa, Microfiche Supplement, ed. Nina Davis Howland (Washington, DC, 2000), 94–96; Minutes of a Meeting of the Defence and Oversea Policy (Official) Committee, Subcommittee on Defence Facilities in the Indian Ocean, OPD (O) (I.O.) (65) 1st Meeting, October 20, 1965, CAB 148/62, the National Archives of the UK (hereafter TNA); “Indian Ocean Islands,” Memorandum from the Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs the Secretary of State, October 8, 1965, file DEF 15 IND-US, Central Files, 1964–1966, RG 59, NARA; “Draft Agreements with the United States Government on the Use of the BIOT,” Note by the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Defence Facilities in the Indian Ocean to the Defence and Oversea Policy Committee, November 8, 1965, CAB 148/76, TNA. 15 “Soviet Maritime Activity in the Indian Ocean,” Department of State Airgram CA-3090, May 27, 1969, file DEF 7 IND-USSR, Central Files, 1967–1969, RG 59, NARA; T. B. Millar, Soviet Policies South and East of Suez,” Foreign Affairs 49, no. 1 (1970): 70–80; James M. McConnell, “The Soviet Navy in the Indian Ocean,” Professional Paper no. 77, Center for Naval Analyses, August 1971; Alexander O. Ghebhardt, “Soviet and U.S. Interests in the Indian Ocean,” Asian Survey 15, no. 8 (1975): 672–83; Walter K. Andersen, “Soviets in the Indian Ocean: Much Ado about Something—But What?,” Asian Survey 24, no. 9 (1984): 910–30; Michael MccGwire, Military Objectives in Soviet Foreign Policy (Washington, DC, 1987): 196–210. 16 “Soviet Activity in the Indian Ocean Area,” Minute by A. M. Simmons (PUSD), September 14, 1970, FCO 31/640, TNA. 17 “British Indian Ocean Territory,” Letter from the Foreign Secretary (Home) to Sir Julian Amery, April 28, 1971, FCO 46/753, TNA. 18 “The Indian Ocean and Prime Minister Heath’s Visit,” memorandum for Dr. Kissinger, December 15, 1970, NSC Institutional Files, Meeting Files (1969–1974), SRG Meetings, SRG Meeting—Indian Ocean (NSSM 104), December 9, 1970, box H-050, Nixon Presidential Materials Project (hereafter NPMP), NARA; “East of Suez (Including Soviet Naval Expansion and B.I.O.T),” Brief by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Visit of the Prime Minister to Washington, December 17–18, 1970, November 30, 1970, FCO 46/558, TNA; “Background Note,” prepared in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, n.d., ca. early December 1970, FCO 46/642, TNA. 19 National Security Study Memorandum 104 “Soviet and Friendly Naval Involvement in the Indian Ocean Area, 1971–1975,” November 9, 1970, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), box H–176, NPMP, NARA. 20 “Indian Ocean Strategy (Response to NSSM 199),” n.d., ca. May–August 1974, FRUS, 1969–1976, vol. E-8, Documents on South Asia, 1973–1976, eds. Paul J. Hibbeln and Peter A. Kraemer (Washington, DC, 2007), doc. 77. 21 “U.S. Interests in the Indian Ocean as it Pertains to Possible U.S. Naval Forces and Basing Arrangements,” December 4, 1970, NSC H-Files, SRG Meeting Indian Ocean (NSSM 104), box H-050, NPMP, NARA. 22 Gary Sick, “The Evolution of U.S. Strategy toward the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf Regions,” in The Great Game: Rivalry in the Persian Gulf and South Asia, ed. Alvin Z. Rubinstein (Westport, CT, 1983), 59. 23 National Security Study Memorandum 110, “Follow-on Study of Strategy Toward the Indian Ocean,” December 22, 1970, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), National Security Study Memoranda, NSSM 110, box H–178, NPMP, NARA. 24 “NSSM-110—Indian Ocean Follow-on Study,” Analytical Summary and Issues Paper prepared by the NSC Staff, n.d., NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Senior Review Group Meetings, SRG Meeting Indian Ocean 10/6/71, box H–060, NPMP, NARA. 25 “Indian Ocean—NSSM-110,” Minutes of a Senior Review Group Meeting, April 22, 1971, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Senior Review Group, SRG Minutes (Originals) 1971, box H–112, NPMP, NARA. 26 S. U. Kodikara, “Major Trends in Sri Lanka’s Non-Alignment Policy after 1956,” Asian Survey 13, no. 12 (1973): 1125. 27 Quoted in “Attitudes Toward Ceylon’s Indian Ocean Peace Zone Proposal,” Research Study by the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, February 23, 1972, file POL 33-6 IND, Central Files, 1970–1973, RG 59, NARA. 28 Quoted in Kodikara, “Major Trends in Sri Lanka’s Non-Alignment Policy after 1956,” 1135. 29 United Nations, Yearbook of the United Nations, 1971 (New York, 1972), 33–35. 30 United Nations, Yearbook of the United Nations, 1972 (New York, 1973), 28–30. 31 “The Indian Ocean: Political and Strategic Future,” Hearings before the Subcommittee on National Security Policy and Scientific Developments of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, 92nd Congress, 1st Session, July 20, 22, 27, and 28, 1971 (Washington, DC, 1971), iii–vi. 32 Timothy Barney, Mapping the Cold War: Cartography and the Framing of America’s International Power (Chapel Hill, NC, 2015), 4; William Rankin, After the Map: Cartography, Navigation, and the Transformation of Territory in the Twentieth Century (Chicago, IL, 2016); Charles S. Maier, Once within Borders: Territories of Power, Wealth, and Belonging since 1500 (Cambridge, MA, 2016). 33 “Indian Ocean Strategy (Response to NSSM 199),” Study Prepared in Response to National Security Study Memorandum 199, “Indian Ocean Strategy,” n.d. (ca. May 1974), NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Senior Review Group Meetings, August 15, 1974–February 12, 1976, box H-090, Gerald Ford Library (hereafter GFL); Walter S. Poole, The Joint Chiefs of Staff and National Policy, 1969–1972, Office of Joint History, Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Washington, DC, 2013), 208–9. 34 Sick, “The Evolution of U.S. Strategy toward the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf Regions,” 65. 35 David S. Painter, “Oil and the October War,” in The October 1973 War: Politics, Diplomacy, Legacy, ed. Asaf Siniver (London, 2013), 178. 36 Walter S. Poole, The Joint Chiefs of Staff and National Policy, 1973–1976, Office of Joint History, Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Washington, DC, 2015), 197–98; “Rationale for Naval Deployments in the Indian Ocean and Proposed Expansion of Diego Garcia,” attachment to letter from Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger to Senator John C. Stennis, January 29, 1974, FRUS, 1969–1976, vol. E-8, doc. 66; Sick, “The Evolution of U.S. Strategy toward the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf Regions,” 63–64. 37 “Proposed Expansion of U.S. Military Facilities in the Indian Ocean,” Hearings before the Subcommittee on the Near East and South Asia of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, 93rd Congress, 2nd Session, February 21; March 6, 12, 14, 20, 1974 (Washington, DC, 1974), vii, 130, 153. 38 National Security Study Memorandum 199, March 14, 1974, FRUS, 1969–1976, vol. E-8, doc. 70. 39 Central Intelligence Agency, Indian Ocean Atlas (Washington, DC, 1976), 3. 40 Barney, Mapping the Cold War, 3. 41 Ibid., 24–25. 42 Barney, Mapping the Cold War, 25. 43 James Francis Giblin, Jr., “The Indian Ocean Naval Arms Limitations Talks: From a Zone of Peace to the Arc of Crisis,” (PhD diss., Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, 1984), 250. 44 “Military Significance of Soviet Developed Facilities in Somalia,” Defense Intelligence Estimate DIE SOV 2–76, February 20, 1976, FRUS, 1969–1976, vol. E-6, Documents on Africa, 1973–1976, eds. Peter Samson and Laurie Van Hook (Washington, DC, 2006), doc. 155; “Soviet Military Capability in Berbera, Somalia,” Report of Senator [Dewey F.] Bartlett to the Committee on Armed Services, United States Senate, July 1975 (Washington, DC, 1975), 2. 45 Quoted in Donna R. Jackson, Jimmy Carter and the Horn of Africa: Cold War Policy in Ethiopia and Somalia (Jefferson, NC, 2007), 122–23. Key documents on the Horn may be found in FRUS, 1977–1980, vol. XVII, part 1, The Horn of Africa, ed. Louise Woodroofe (Washington, DC, 2016) and the National Security Archive’s Carter-Brezhnev Project, “Global Competition and the Deterioration of Détente, 1977–1980,” records of a conference held in Fort Lauderdale, FL, March 23–26, 1995, Conference Briefing Book; Nancy Mitchell, Jimmy Carter in Africa: Race and the Cold War (Stanford, CA, 2016); Radoslav A. Yordanov, The Soviet Union and the Horn of Africa during the Cold War (Lanham, MD, 2016); Louise Woodroofe, Buried in the Sands of the Ogaden: The United States, the Horn of Africa, and the Demise of Détente (Kent, OH, 2013); Robert G. Patman, The Soviet Union in the Horn of Africa (New York, 1991); Melvyn Leffler, For the Soul of Mankind: The United States, the Soviet Union, and the Cold War (New York, 2007), 273–88. 46 “Changes in Iran: Their Policy Implications for the Region and U.S. Interests,” memorandum from Mr. Raphel (S/P) to Secretary Vance, November 17, 1979, Remote Archives Capture (hereafter RAC) NLC-6-29-2-52-5, JCL. 47 Zbigniew Brzezinski, Power and Principle: Memoirs of the National Security Adviser, 1977–1981 (New York, 1983), 446. 48 “Middle East/Persian Gulf Initiatives,” memorandum from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Secretary of Defense Brown, January 11, 1979, FRUS, 1977–1980, vol. XVIII, Middle East Region; Arabian Peninsula, ed. Kelly M. McFarland (Washington, DC, 2015), doc. 11, 29–30. 49 “NSC Weekly Report #81,” Memorandum from the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski) to President Carter, December 2, 1978, FRUS, 1977–1980, vol. I, Foundations of Foreign Policy, ed. Kristin L. Ahlberg (Washington, DC, 2014), doc. 100. 50 Time, “Iran: The Crescent of Crisis,” 18. 51 Ibid., 19. 52 Henrikson, “The Geographical ‘Mental Maps’ of American Foreign Policy Makers,” 527, fn 6. 53 Sick, “The Evolution of U.S. Strategy toward the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf,” 70. 54 Raymond L. Garthoff, Détente and Confrontation: American-Soviet Relations from Nixon to Reagan (Washington, DC, 1994), 719–26. 55 Letter from President Carter to Secretary of Defense Brown, February 9, 1979, FRUS, 1977–1980, vol. XVIII, doc. 19, 57; Brzezinski, Power and Principle, 447. 56 FRUS, 1977–1980, vol. XVIII, docs. 21-98. Brzezinski, Power and Principle, 446–47; Olaf Njølstad, “Shifting Priorities: The Persian Gulf in U.S. Strategic Planning in the Carter Years,” Cold War History 4, no. 3 (2004): 21–55; William E. Odom, “The Cold War Origins of the U.S. Central Command,” Journal of Cold War Studies 8, no. 2 (2006): 52–82. 57 Anatoly Dobrynin, In Confidence: Moscow’s Ambassador to America’s Six Cold War Presidents (New York, 1995), 420, 452. 58 “International Issues,” memorandum of a conversation between President Jimmy Carter and President L. I. Brezhnev, June 17, 1979, reproduced in the Carter-Brezhnev Project, “Global Competition and the Deterioration of Détente, 1977–1980,” records of a conference held in Fort Lauderdale, FL, March 23–26, 1995, Conference Briefing Book, National Security Archive. 59 Rearden and Foulkes, The Joint Chiefs of Staff and National Policy, 1977–1980, 25, 28–34; Minutes of Policy Review Committee Meetings, June 21 and 22, 1979, FRUS, 1977–1980, vol. XVIII, doc. 26, 86–101. 60 “Evening Report,” memorandum from NSC staffer Thomas Thornton to Brzezinski, July 17, 1979, RAC NLC-24-100-5-24-3, JCL. 61 “Improved Prospects of US Access to Bases in the Middle East,” memorandum from Brzezinski to President Carter, December 25, 1979, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Country File, Middle East: 8–12/79, box 51, JCL. 62 “Reflections on Soviet Intervention in Afghanistan,” memorandum from Brzezinski to President Carter, December 26, 1979, RAC NLC-17-72-10-1-2, JCL. 63 Jimmy Carter, “Address to the Nation on the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan,” January 4, 1980, The American Presidency Project, accessed July 1, 2016, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=32911. 64 Quoted in Andrew Hartman, “‘The Red Template’: US Policy in Soviet-Occupied Afghanistan,” Third World Quarterly 23, no. 3 (2002): 471. 65 William C. Green, “The Historic Russian Drive for a Warm Water Port,” Naval War College Review XLVI (1993): 80–102. See, also, Albert Reiss, “Russophobia and the ‘Testament’ of Peter the Great, 1812-1980,” Slavic Review 44 (1985): 681–93. 66 John C. Campbell, “The Middle East: A House of Containment Built on Shifting Sands,” Foreign Affairs 60, no. 3 (1981): 598. 67 John C. Campbell review of Maya Chadda, Paradox of Power: the United States in Southwest Asia, 1973–1984, Foreign Affairs 65, no. 2 (1986): 409. 68 Martin Kramer, “Southwest Asia,” Middle East Strategy at Harvard, John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies, Harvard University, March 2, 2009, accessed July 14, 2016, https://blogs.harvard.edu/mesh/2009/03/southwest-asia/. This portion of my article is heavily indebted to Kramer’s lengthy post. 69 “U.S. Security Interests and Policies in Southwest Asia,” Hearings before the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, and the Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, 96th Congress, 2nd Session, February 6, 7, 20, 27 and March 4, 18, 1980 (Washington, DC, 1980). 70 “SCC Meeting on Southwest Asia and the Persian Gulf,” January 17, 1980, RAC NLC-132-107-22-1-1, JCL. 71 “Indian Ocean Access SCC on (Kenya, Somalia, Oman, Saudi Arabia),” memorandum from Fritz Ermarth and Jasper Welch to Brzezinski, January 28, 1980, RAC, NLC-31-11-13-3-8, JCL. 72 Sick, “The Evolution of U.S. Strategy toward the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf Regions,” 74–75. 73 “Relevance of the Truman Doctrine to the Current Situation,” memorandum from Brzezinski to President Carter, January 2, 1980, quoted in FRUS, 1977–1980, vol. XVIII, Editorial Note, doc. 80, 266–68. 74 Jimmy Carter, “The State of the Union: Address Delivered Before a Joint Session of the Congress, January 23, 1980,” Public Papers of the President of the United States, Jimmy Carter, 1980–81, Book I, January 1–May 23, 1980 (Washington, DC, 1981), 194–200. 75 “Persian Gulf-Southwest Asia Region,” April 29, 1980, quoted in Daniel J. Sargent, A Superpower Transformed: The Remaking of American Foreign Relations in the 1970s (New York, 2015), 289. 76 Sick, “The Evolution of U.S. Strategy toward the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf Regions,” 75. 77 “Persian Gulf Security Framework,” memorandum from Secretary of Defense Brown to Brzezinski, November 21, 1980, FRUS, 1977–1980, vol. XVIII, doc. 96, 313–20; “Persian Gulf Security Framework,” Presidential Directive/NSC-63, January 15, 1981, FRUS, 1977–1980, vol. XVIII, doc. 98, 325–28. 78 “Talking Points for SRG Meeting on Ceylon,” memorandum for Dr. Kissinger, April 22, 1971, NSC Institutional Files, Meetings Files (1969–1974), SRG Meetings, SRG Meeting – Indian Ocean (NSSM 104), April, 22, 1971, box H-054, NPMP, NARA. 79 “Indian Ocean Peace Zone,” State Department telegram 3468, Colombo to Washington, December 13, 1971, file POL 33-6 IND, Central Files, 1970-1973, RG 59, NARA. 80 “Australia and the Indian Ocean Region: Report from the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence,” (Canberra, 1977); Henry S. Albinski, “Australia and the Indian Ocean,” in The Indian Ocean in Global Politics, ed. Larry W. Bowman and Ian Clark (Boulder, CO, 1981): 59–86; Changwei Chen, “A Diplomatic Tightrope: The Whitlam Government and the Diego Garcia Dilemma,” Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 42, no. 3 (2013): 530–50. 81 See David Scott, “The Indian Ocean as India’s Ocean,” in The Oxford Handbook of Indian Foreign Policy, ed. David M. Malone, C. Raja Mohan, and Srinath Raghavan (New York, 2016), 466–78; Talat Parveen, Iran’s Policy towards the Gulf (New Delhi, 2006), 84. 82 Memorandum of a conversation between the Shah of Iran and Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger, July 24, 1973, FRUS, 1969–1976, vol. XXVII, Iran; Iraq, 1973–1976, ed. Monica L. Belmonte (Washington, DC, 2012), doc. 26, 88–94. 83 Roger Pfister, Apartheid South Africa and African States: from Pariah to Middle Power (London, 2005), 85–86; J. E. Spence, “South Africa and the Defence of the West,” Survival 13, no. 3 (1971): 78–84. 84 State Department telegram 1398, Rangoon to Washington, May 29, 1975, Central Foreign Policy File, 1973–1979, Electronic Telegrams, 1975, RG 59, NARA. 85 “Guidance for USDEL to June 2–13 Meeting of Ad Hoc Committee on Indian Ocean,” Scope Paper, May 30, 1980, NSC Institutional Files, 1974–1977, “Brf. Book for June 2–13 [1980] Session of Ad Hoc Committee on Indian Ocean,” box 79, GFL. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices) http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Diplomatic History Oxford University Press

Conceiving the “Arc of Crisis” in the Indian Ocean Region*

Diplomatic History , Volume 42 (4) – Sep 1, 2018

Loading next page...
 
/lp/ou_press/conceiving-the-arc-of-crisis-in-the-indian-oceanregion-g0mQr0177r
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Copyright
© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.
ISSN
0145-2096
eISSN
1467-7709
D.O.I.
10.1093/dh/dhx072
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

December 1978 marked the end of a tumultuous and often dispiriting year for President Jimmy Carter and his foreign policy team. Over the previous months they had seen their efforts to de-emphasize the East-West struggle as the central feature of U.S. diplomacy falter and their labors to promote improved North-South relations lose momentum. They now watched as the United States’ détente with the Soviet Union rapidly eroded and war, revolution, and indigenous radicalism jeopardized U.S. interests in key areas of the developing world. The president’s assistant for national security affairs, Zbigniew Brzezinski, was apprehensive. He was at the forefront of the administration’s efforts to address these issues, and he perceived a geographic logic to them. In an address to the members of the Foreign Policy Association in Washington, DC on December 20, he surveyed the international scene and outlined the opportunities and challenges for American diplomacy in the months ahead. Near the end of his remarks he expounded on the difficulties then confronting the United States on the Cold War’s periphery, and told his audience that there extended “an arc of crisis … along the shores of the Indian Ocean, with fragile social and political structures in a region of vital importance to us threatened with fragmentation. The resulting political chaos could well be filled by elements hostile to our values and sympathetic to our adversaries.”1 Brzezinski’s articulation of this “arc of crisis” was arresting for many reasons. The term entered the foreign policy lexicon immediately and was seized upon by the media. Most notably, Time magazine transformed the term into “Crescent of Crisis” and emblazoned it across the cover of its January 15, 1979 issue to accompany an article assessing the political turmoil in the Persian Gulf and its neighborhood.2 More importantly, the speech marked a key step by United States policymakers in identifying the Indian Ocean and its littoral states as a distinct theater of the Cold War and U.S. foreign policy. Between 1970 and 1980, three successive presidential administrations transformed U.S. strategic thinking concerning the Indian Ocean in ways that persisted for the remaining years of the Cold War and after. At the beginning of the decade, President Richard Nixon, his foreign policy advisers, and the U.S. military did not believe the nations that ringed the Indian Ocean composed a coherent region for which American diplomacy could be formulated and strategic planning conducted. Over the next ten years, however, a series of dramatic events along the shores of the ocean reshaped the “mental maps” of these planners, the most influential of whom were persuaded by 1980 that a new regional architecture for U.S. policy had to be conceived. A key to that region was the ocean itself. Its waters and the nations they touch became central to U.S. foreign policy planning as the Cold War entered a new, tortuous phase. The concept of “mental maps” offers a valuable tool with which to assess U.S. diplomacy in these years and in this part of the world. It helps to explain how American strategic planners and diplomats perceived, interpreted, and imagined how waters and lands on the other side of the world impinged on U.S. interests. It provides insight into their halting efforts to define a strategic framework for an area which comprised, in different and often overlapping formulations, the Indian Ocean and its littoral states, the greater Persian Gulf, and Southwest Asia. In his seminal 1980 treatment of the subject, Alan K. Henrikson observed that “statesmen respond to the world as they perceive and imagine it—which may not be the way the world really is.” Rather, he later summarized, they often embrace “mental maps,” a “cognitive frame on the basis of which … diplomats and others who think and act internationally, orient themselves in the world.” These mental maps consist of “geographical ideas, images, and associated reasoning processes, which may not be completely conscious or fully articulated in speech [but which nevertheless] do exist in the minds of policymakers.”3 Thus, the analysis of mental maps attempts to bridge the fields of geopolitics and cognitive psychology to parse the ways foreign policymakers imagine the world around them.4 Foreign relations historians have too seldom exploited the concept of mental maps to explore their subjects. Henrikson contributed a chapter on the subject to the first edition of Cambridge University Press’s Explaining the History of American Foreign Relations in 1991, but it was omitted from subsequent editions.5 It has largely fallen to political scientists to explore the application of mental maps to foreign policy analysis.6 A notable exception is Aiyaz Husain’s recent Mapping the End of Empire: American and British Strategic Visions in the Postwar World, which adroitly assesses the imagined geographies of U.S. and British officials as they framed their global and regional worldviews during the era of decolonization.7 An examination of the mental maps embraced by U.S. policymakers in the 1970s allows us to simultaneously refine and broaden our understanding of American diplomacy in the Indian Ocean region and come to a deeper understanding of the foundations of subsequent American policies in the area. Such an examination underscores that U.S. policymakers came to visualize the ocean and its littoral as a coherent unit and a distinct front of the Cold War, as well as a venue in which indigenous radicalisms jeopardized American strategic and economic interests. It illuminates how mental maps both reflected and reinforced priorities and justified costly policies by the United States in this complex region. Most importantly, perhaps, it demonstrates how imaginary or poorly understood threats have led to a dramatically larger U.S. role along the ocean’s “Arc of Crisis” and eventually to America’s participation in numerous conflicts along its shores. This examination requires that we engage with the larger historiography of the Indian Ocean. For more than three decades a growing body of literature has examined the Indian Ocean as an area of cultural exchange, commercial contacts, migration, and political competition. Deeply influenced by Fernand Braudel’s scholarship on the Mediterranean and Immanuel Wallerstein’s world-systems theory, this “new thalassology” (study of the seas) has focused primarily on the ancient, Islamic, early modern, and colonial periods. It has been largely economic, social, and cultural in nature.8 K. N. Chaudhuri, Kenneth McPherson, Michael Pearson, and Sugata Bose, for example, have argued persuasively that we must appreciate the spatial and temporal unities, or at least commonalities, within the Indian Ocean world.9 A similar perception of the region’s unity and coherence, in strategic and diplomatic terms, is what came to impress U.S. foreign policymakers in the 1970s, yet this perception has gone largely unexplored by historians. In fact, the modern diplomatic and political history of the Indian Ocean region has been slighted by scholars. It is time to move the existing literature forward by assessing the area in the late imperial and post-imperial era, in other words the era of decolonization and superpower competition during the Cold War. Such an examination requires us to exploit the insights of an earlier generation of scholars about the salience of the greater Indian Ocean region. Their work compels us to rethink our own “mental maps,” both geographic and temporal, about the ocean. The task also obliges us to examine the role of Western actors and local actors as they shaped the Indian Ocean world together and grapple with the complicated political exchanges between them.10 At the beginning of the 1970s, the governments of many of the newly independent nations of Asia and Africa along the shores of the Indian Ocean embraced a very different mental map of their neighborhood than those in the West. They identified a set of shared interests in promoting the idea of the Indian Ocean as a “Zone of Peace” (IOZP) and worked to establish an identity for the Indian Ocean region. They raised their voices against what they viewed as the depredations of the superpowers in the ocean and detailed their concerns in a number of different forums including the Non-Aligned Movement, the British Commonwealth, the Organization of African Unity, and the United Nations. Yet, as the decade wore on, a volatile and constantly-evolving series of factors rooted in domestic politics, geopolitical ambition, and regional diplomacy fractured the area and often put them at odds with one another. As the United States’ appreciation of the unity of the region as a theater of political action grew, theirs eroded. The United States’ interest in the Indian Ocean region was largely a function of its Cold War strategy of containing Soviet, communist, and revolutionary-nationalist influence. As early as 1959, the U.S. Navy’s Long Range Objectives Group noted the relative weakness of American naval forces in the Indian Ocean and the growing Soviet interest in extending its military presence there. Drawing on the experience of the “island hopping” campaign of the Pacific War, naval planners contended that the United States must control “strategic islands” of their own in the Indian Ocean. It was not until the early 1960s, however, when Britain’s influence in the Arabian Peninsula and Persian Gulf began to decline, that U.S. interest in the development of Indian Ocean bases accelerated.11 National Security Council staff member Robert Komer, presaging Brzezinski’s formulation of the “arc of crisis,” noted to President Kennedy in June 1963 that “It is a simple fact that our greatest lack of conventional deterrent power lies along the broad arc from Suez to Singapore… . We have traditionally left the defense of this region to the British, yet their strength is waning at a time when we face a potential show of force or actual combat needs ranging from Saudi Arabia to the Persian Gulf and Iran through India and Burma to Malaysia.” Clearly a greater U.S. military presence in the Indian Ocean was required to serve these contingencies.12 Diego Garcia, a V-shaped atoll in the Chagos Archipelago administered by the British island of Mauritius, seemed especially promising for military use, and the United States asked that a joint Anglo-American team survey the island as soon as possible.13 In October 1965, the British Cabinet approved an Order in Council to detach Diego Garcia and its neighboring islands from Mauritius and the Seychelles, and the following month the British government announced the creation of the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), a dependent entity administered directly from London. In December 1966, the United States and Britain signed twin political and economic agreements governing issues of sovereignty and joint use of any facilities constructed in the new BIOT, and in 1970, U.S. and British officials announced jointly their plans to proceed with the development of Diego Garcia.14 In March 1968, just two months after Prime Minister Harold Wilson’s Labour government announced plans to end Britain’s permanent military role “East of Suez,” a Russian naval task force sailed into the Indian Ocean for the first time in more than sixty years. Four vessels, the vanguard of a new Soviet Indian Ocean squadron, called at ports on the Indian subcontinent, the Persian Gulf, and the East African coast. Naval analysts disagreed on the purpose of the Soviet deployment, but it is likely that the Soviets hoped to counter the growing presence of U.S. guided missile submarines in the ocean as well as the nascent U.S. military facility on Diego Garcia. They may also have wished to show the Soviet flag and establish assets with which to secure important sea lines of communication to East Asia.15 Their deployment certainly engendered deep concern in Washington and, especially, London. The British Defence Ministry fretted that if Soviet ships in the Indian Ocean “interfered with the passage of merchant ships going round the Cape, they would immediately interrupt the bulk of oil deliveries from the Persian Gulf to African states and Europe. This would enable them to throttle trade and industry within a relatively short time.”16 Foreign Secretary Alec Douglas-Home wrote to his Cabinet colleague Julian Amery that the ocean guarded the trade routes and lines of transportation between Britain and its Commonwealth partners in Southeast Asia and Australia.17 Thus, they imagined the Indian Ocean through the lens of their imperial experiences and entertained a mental map of the ocean as it existed in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a major thoroughfare of empire. While U.S. strategic planners worked to incorporate the Indian Ocean into the global architecture of their containment policy, officials in Whitehall strove to ensure that Britain remained influential in the affairs of the ocean and its littoral. To do so, they recognized, would require them to forge new cooperative ties with the United States that would allow them to co-opt American power in the service of their more regionally-oriented diplomacy. The mental map from which they worked placed the Indian Ocean squarely in the middle of Britain’s traditional strategic and economic interests in Asia and East Africa. The United States and the Indian Ocean’s Evolving Strategic Geography, 1970–1976 At Chequers in October 1970 Prime Minister Edward Heath implored President Richard Nixon to take the Soviet naval presence in the Indian Ocean seriously and asked for joint Anglo-American talks on the region. When Heath visited Washington early the next year, he continued to press Nixon on the need for close attention to Indian Ocean security.18 Heath’s efforts led the Nixon administration to launch the first of three major studies of U.S. interests and strategy in the Indian Ocean. National Security Study Memorandum (NSSM) 104 asked for an interagency “assessment of possible Soviet naval threats to U.S. interests in the Indian Ocean area and the development of friendly naval force and basing alternatives consistent with varying judgments about possible threats and interests over the 1971–1975 period.”19 The study prepared in response to the NSSM concluded that “the US has a low level of interest in the Indian Ocean, but nonetheless required access to the region for a variety of purposes, chief among them oil from the Persian Gulf (at that time principally for Europe and Japan).”20 It also required that U.S. policymakers consider the unity of the Indian Ocean as a region and revealed much about the “mental maps” with which they approached the issue. In preparation for a discussion of the NSSM, the National Security Council’s Senior Review Group (SRG) considered a paper that concluded: “It is difficult to identify ‘Indian Ocean interests’ since the Indian Ocean is not in any sense a political unit. Aside from the nearly omnipresent fact of underdevelopment the littoral states share few interests and little sense of community.”21 Gary G. Sick, then a junior Navy officer serving in the office of the assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, wrote later that the SRG concluded “the Indian Ocean could not be regarded as a political unit. There was simply too much diversity to consider it as a whole.”22 Very shortly thereafter, National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger commissioned a “Follow-on Study of Strategy Toward the Indian Ocean” (NSSM-110), which “directed that a further assessment be prepared outlining alternative U.S. strategies through 1975 for dealing with the increase in Soviet activities in the Indian Ocean area.”23 The NSC staff again noted “the littoral’s fragmented character and lack of unifying strategic issues.”24 When the SRG met in April 1971 to discuss the study, Kissinger began the meeting by asking “how fruitful is it to talk about the Indian Ocean as one unit? There are so many different countries and interests involved that it might be misleading to talk about our ‘relatively slight’ interest in the Indian Ocean. If we add up our interests in the littoral countries it might be a helluva lot more.”25 Kissinger was tentatively suggesting that the conventional wisdom among policymakers, that the Indian Ocean touched on a motley and disorganized assemblage of East African, Middle Eastern, and South and Southeast Asian states and peoples, should perhaps be reconsidered. A new mental map that brought together the ocean and its littoral states was beginning to take shape. Governments along the Indian Ocean’s littoral were also constructing new mental maps of the region. The Ceylonese government of Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike, for example, was working energetically to transform the turbulent Indian Ocean area into a politically coherent and demilitarized “zone of peace.” Bandaranaike’s motives were complex and were shaped by genuine conviction, political calculation, and diplomatic expediency. She assumed office as the first modern female head of state in 1960 determined to advance the principle of non-alignment and the “spirit of Bandung.”26 Bandaranaike first proposed the idea of a demilitarized Indian Ocean at the Non-Aligned Movement’s (NAM’s) 1964 Cairo conference but spelled out her vision more fully at the NAM’s third summit in Lusaka, Zambia in September 1970. At Ceylon’s urging, the conference resolutions included “A Declaration calling upon all States to consider and respect the Indian Ocean as a zone of peace from which great power rivalries and competition as well as bases conceived in the context of such rivalries and competition, either army, navy or air force bases, are excluded. The area should also be free of nuclear weapons.”27 Bandaranaike clearly saw the peace zone concept as a way to enhance Ceylon’s influence within the politically tumultuous NAM, bolster her political standing at home, and promote greater unity among the nations and peoples of the Indian Ocean basin. At the January 1971 Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Singapore, the Ceylonese delegation emphasized that “A peace zone in the Indian Ocean will provide countries of this region with time to develop trends towards integration and cooperation so that in the course of time the Indian Ocean region could move from an area of low solidarity to an area of high solidarity. In effect a peace zone will provide the transitional minimum conditions for the development of an ‘Indian Ocean community’ in which problems of security will be dealt with by orderly and institutional means for promoting peaceful change.”28 Thus, the mental map by which Bandaranaike made her diplomacy was aspirational and quite different from those entertained by U.S. policymakers. Articulated in meetings in East Africa and Southeast Asia, it encompassed a unified Indian Ocean region under NAM and, perhaps, Ceylonese leadership. Bandaranaike’s government also co-sponsored, with Tanzania, a resolution in the United Nations General Assembly to declare the Indian Ocean a “zone of peace.” The General Assembly passed Resolution 2832 (XXVI) on December 16, 1971.29 In December 1972 it established the Ad Hoc Committee on the Indian Ocean, which was tasked with identifying ways to implement the 1971 resolution.30 Sri Lanka (as Ceylon restyled itself earlier that year) held the chair, as it does today. Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, members of the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs took up the Indian Ocean and its issues during the summer of 1971. The impending departure of Britain from its permanent military facilities “East of Suez,” the growing Soviet naval presence in the ocean, the continuing construction of the U.S. military facility on Diego Garcia, and political turbulence in Ceylon and East Pakistan led the Subcommittee on National Security Policy and Scientific Developments to hold four days of hearings on the political and strategic future of the ocean. In his letter transmitting the report of the subcommittee, chairman Clement J. Zablocki of Wisconsin wrote in explicitly geographic and cartographic terms about the reasons he believed the ocean had not received its due from U.S. policymakers or the American public. “For most Americans,” he began, “the Indian Ocean has a split personality. Our maps of the world, centered as they are upon the United States, provide an intact view of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, but sever the Indian Ocean in two. This geographic bifurcation of the world’s third largest body of water is an expression of the fragmented view which we have of the Indian Ocean and its littoral.” Figure 1: View largeDownload slide “The World,” a map published by the National Geographic Society in 1970, depicts the bifurcated and marginalized Indian Ocean lamented by House Foreign Affairs subcommittee chairman Rep. Clement Zablocki during the July 1971 hearings. Figure 1: View largeDownload slide “The World,” a map published by the National Geographic Society in 1970, depicts the bifurcated and marginalized Indian Ocean lamented by House Foreign Affairs subcommittee chairman Rep. Clement Zablocki during the July 1971 hearings. Zablocki decried the “failure to see the Indian Ocean and its littoral states as a single entity” and the “lack of a central vision” that resulted in a “fundamental lack of concern on the part of the United States toward the Indian Ocean.” Why, he asked, did the U.S. military field an Atlantic Command and a Pacific Command, but no comparable command to oversee affairs in the Indian Ocean? Why did the State Department have three bureaus with responsibilities for portions of the ocean’s littoral and “no central organizational focus on its affairs”? Why was there such a paucity of academic attention and expertise on the ocean and its surrounding states?31 Zablocki was clearly arguing that the mental map most Americans had of the Indian Ocean, grounded in outdated cartographic conventions, did not allow them to perceive the interests they had at stake in an increasingly important region of the world. Maps, both physical and mental, Zablocki was suggesting, played crucial roles in the ways Americans understood their proper role in the world. In fact, during the years of the East-West struggle “maps, offered important definitions of ownership, knowledge, containment, commitment, control, and even resistance that formed our perspective of the Cold War. Maps located these central ideological tensions between American national interests and America’s international aspirations.”32 A series of events in the Indian Ocean and its littoral in the early 1970s changed the ways U.S. policymakers envisioned the region and internalized its strategic geography. During the December 1971 war between India and Pakistan, President Nixon ordered a carrier task force, including the U.S.S. Enterprise, to the Bay of Bengal in the eastern Indian Ocean. An NSC paper noted that “Seventh Fleet units, including carriers, had entered the Indian Ocean before, but not as part of a deliberate gesture.”33 The task force’s purpose was left ambiguous, although as Gary Sick notes “it was clearly intended as a gesture of reassurance to Pakistan (and possibly China), as well as a veiled warning to India to restrict its war aims with respect to Pakistan.” The deployment also provoked a Soviet response. Moscow sent a “considerable naval force” to the Indian Ocean, which remained in the region even after the U.S. task force departed.34 The October 1973 Middle East war marked a watershed in the way that U.S. planners considered the Indian Ocean. The Arab states’ oil embargo on the United States made the Nixon administration acutely aware of the vulnerability of Persian Gulf energy supplies and their associated sea lanes through the Indian Ocean. On the eve of the conflict, the United States imported relatively little oil from the Middle East, but Persian Gulf petroleum made up more than forty percent of Western European oil imports and accounted for more than a third of total Japanese oil consumption.35 The energy security of its key allies thus compelled U.S. policymakers to think carefully about the sea lines of communication through the ocean. Consequently, the president ordered the U.S.S. Hancock carrier task force to the region in November where it remained until the following April, and Defense Secretary James Schlesinger announced that the U.S. Navy would make more regular deployments to the ocean. In January, the Nixon administration requested funds from Congress to augment the facilities on Diego Garcia, in effect transforming the site from what had been termed an “austere communications facility” into a “modest support complex” for U.S. Navy activities in the Indian Ocean.36 Figure 2: View largeDownload slide Map of the Indian Ocean from “Proposed Expansion of U.S. Military Facilities in the Indian Ocean,” Hearings before the Subcommittee on the Near East and South Asia of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, 93rd Congress, 2nd Session, February 21; March 6, 12, 14, 20, 1974 (Washington, DC, 1974), vii. Figure 2: View largeDownload slide Map of the Indian Ocean from “Proposed Expansion of U.S. Military Facilities in the Indian Ocean,” Hearings before the Subcommittee on the Near East and South Asia of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, 93rd Congress, 2nd Session, February 21; March 6, 12, 14, 20, 1974 (Washington, DC, 1974), vii. The request engendered a heated and lengthy debate on Capitol Hill, which turned on whether the United States should pursue a course that would incur costly new foreign policy obligations in the immediate aftermath of the Vietnam conflict. The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s subcommittee on the Near East and South Asia conducted hearings in March 1974 that again examined U.S. interests and capabilities in the Indian Ocean. The hearing report included a map that illuminated the new ways that American planners were beginning to see the Indian Ocean. It depicted a capacious ocean stretching from East Africa to the Northwest Cape of Australia and from the ocean’s southern latitudes to the Arabian Peninsula, Persian Gulf, and Indian subcontinent. At the map’s center was Diego Garcia with distance figures inscribed—2,000 miles to Dar es Salaam, 1,000 miles to India’s southern tip, 2,400 miles to Bangkok. Clearly, the island and its military facilities were presented as the emerging lynchpin of U.S. interests throughout the entire Indian Ocean basin, from Southeast Asia to Southern Africa. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Elmo Zumwalt made the case for an augmented Diego Garcia in the starkly geopolitical terms supported by the map. The Indian Ocean, he argued, was directly linked to U.S. interests in Europe and Asia and was becoming a focal point of American economic and strategic interests in the developing world. The function of Diego Garcia, he contended, was to provide support to U.S. naval operations and to redress the imbalances U.S. forces faced when operating in the area. He reiterated the distances from Diego Garcia to key points on the Indian Ocean’s shores—1,800 miles to the Arabian Peninsula, 2,100 miles to the Strait of Malacca. In a very visual way, and in terms compelling to a senior naval officer, Zumwalt described the new geography of U.S. interests in the Indian Ocean and its littoral.37 The Nixon administration’s consideration of the Indian Ocean continued in the spring with a study commissioned by National Security Study Memorandum 199, “Indian Ocean Strategy,” which evaluated U.S. interests and posture in the region following the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. It noted the greatly augmented Soviet naval presence in the Indian Ocean following the deployment of the Hancock task force and the need to secure the sea lanes carrying increasingly vital Persian Gulf oil to the West. The study called for the further improvement of the Diego Garcia facility and continued periodic carrier deployments to the ocean.38 During the debate on Diego Garcia’s expansion, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) produced for the public an Indian Ocean Atlas that was widely disseminated. The volume’s purpose, according to its authors, was “to provide, in maps, graphics, photographs, and a minimum of text, a general understanding and appreciation of the Indian Ocean area.”39 Its larger purpose was undoubtedly to help frame the debate on Indian Ocean security and influence the geographical perceptions of policymakers and observers around the world. Of course, every map is an argument, and physical maps, like mental maps, reflect and shape the ways that policymakers want to see the world. They are, as Timothy Barney notes, “ideological blueprints—they frame the language of politics in a melding of signs and symbols that both reflect and create colorful and charged world views.”40 The maps and accompanying text provided by CIA geographers and cartographers were no different. In several cases they subtly underscored the U.S. government’s position on Indian Ocean matters while calling into question the positions of its rivals and critics. In others they conveyed the idea, inaccurately, that the United States was at a distinct disadvantage militarily in the ocean to the Soviets and their regional clients. Adopting a tone of studious objectivity, the authors of the atlas included a section on “Political Relationships” with two pages devoted to “‘Zone of Peace’?”—a special article on the issue. They noted, “Traditionally there has been little unity within the Indian Ocean region, and throughout history no single indigenous power has been able to dominate… . With the departure of the British, the ocean becomes another arena for competition and confrontation between the two superpowers.” The CIA geographers concluded, “Whether the Indian Ocean can become a zone of peace in the foreseeable future is questionable … The peace zone in the Indian Ocean envisaged in the 1971 proposal is far from a reality.”41 Thus, even as a new mental map of the Indian Ocean as a unified strategic theater was coalescing among U.S. policymakers, the atlas undermined the idea of a progressive Indian Ocean community of nations espoused by the authors of the peace zone resolution. Figure 3: View largeDownload slide “Significant Facilities,” a map from the CIA’s Indian Ocean Atlas (Washington, DC, 1976), 26. Figure 3: View largeDownload slide “Significant Facilities,” a map from the CIA’s Indian Ocean Atlas (Washington, DC, 1976), 26. The article also featured a map of the ocean detailing “Significant Facilities” used by regional and foreign militaries. Diego Garcia was once again centered squarely and was labeled innocently as a communications facility under British sovereignty where the United States exercised “user privileges.” Three other regional facilities at which the United States exercised such privileges are featured: Manama (Bahrain), Singapore, Northwest Cape (Australia), and Mahé Island (Seychelles). Meanwhile, Soviet facilities, and even anchorages in the ocean, were shown to outnumber their U.S. counterparts by two-to-one.42 The net effect was to suggest that the United States, with interests throughout the Indian Ocean basin, was outnumbered by facilities from which the Soviets could project military power. A more discerning reader would note that many of the Soviet-controlled or allied facilities were quite small or were used infrequently by Moscow and posed little threat to U.S. influence in the ocean. Thus, the map reflected American strategic anxieties and justified U.S. military expansion in the region. The Indian Ocean Atlas was widely circulated and was even consulted by Soviet officials.43 As the Horn of Africa became a site of turbulence that seriously compromised U.S.-Soviet détente, the attention of U.S. policymakers continued to focus on the shores of the Indian Ocean. In Berbera, Somalia, the Soviets completed a military facility in early 1975 intended to assemble and house missiles for use by the Soviet Navy as well as an airfield from which Soviet aircraft might perform open-ocean reconnaissance and anti-shipping missions in the western Indian Ocean. “It is evident,” Defense Secretary Schlesinger told the Senate Armed Services Committee in June 1975, “that the USSR is in the process of establishing a significant new facility, capable of supporting their naval and air activities in the northwest Indian Ocean.”44 Toward the “Arc of Crisis,” 1977–1978 Turmoil on the Horn became critical in 1977 and 1978. Soviet weapons and Cuban military advisers poured into the region as Somalia and Ethiopia waged war over the desolate Ogaden region. Expelled from their former ally, Somalia, in November 1977, the Soviets shipped large quantities of arms to their new client, Ethiopia, through South Yemen and then across the Gulf of Aden. Significant numbers of Soviet warships supported the operation, and Moscow was granted naval rights to ports in Ethiopia’s Dahlak Archipelago in the Red Sea. In Washington, President Carter and National Security Advisor Brzezinski grew alarmed that Moscow was acquiring the ability to jeopardize the sea lanes to the Persian Gulf and mount military actions against targets in the Middle East. NSC staff member Paul B. Henze elaborated the mental map becoming firmly established in the Carter White House when he wrote to Brzezinski on July 27, 1978, “The Horn remains an important area. Its proximity to the Arabian Peninsula, to the ‘soft underbelly’ of Asia, and its relationship to the Indian Ocean all contribute to its strategic significance. Africa and the Middle East meet here.” By December, the revolutionary Ethiopian government signed a friendship treaty with Moscow. A key node on Brzezinski’s “arc of crisis” was firmly established.45 The other portions of the arc fell into place by the end of the year. To the north of the Horn of Africa, across the mouth of the Red Sea, the Soviet client regime in South Yemen was believed to be working to subvert the pro-Western government of neighboring North Yemen, alarming Saudi Arabia and threatening war and instability on the Arabian Peninsula. In Afghanistan, a Marxist coup in April installed the volatile pro-Soviet regime of Nur Mohammed Taraki in Kabul and touched off a series of events that led to Moscow’s eventual military intervention in the country. Provoking the most anxiety, though, were events in the Persian Gulf where imperial Iran, the traditional bulwark of pro-Western stability in the region, succumbed to violence and revolution in the autumn, jeopardizing the regime of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. A memorandum to Secretary of State Cyrus Vance ventured, “Our Indian Ocean policy could … be directly affected. Depending on the type of government which comes to power in Tehran, we might, as a means of safeguarding our interests, want to increase our presence in the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf.”46 Against this backdrop Brzezinski began to press his “arc of crisis thesis.”47 At the end of November, the national security adviser requested that the Pentagon “sketch out broad options for US strategy in a general region from the Horn of Africa to India.”48 On December 2, in a weekly NSC report to President Carter, he wrote, “Alert: The Arc of Crisis. If you draw an arc on the globe, stretching from Chittagong (Bangladesh) through Islamabad to Aden, you will be pointing to the area of currently our greatest vulnerability. Fragile social and political structures in a region of vital importance to us are threatened with fragmentation. The resulting political vacuum might well be filled by elements more sympathetic to the Soviet Union.”49 Just eighteen days later, Brzezinski articulated the arc of crisis to his Foreign Policy Association audience and created an immediate stir. Just what composed this “arc of crisis” wondered the media and foreign policy cognoscenti? The Time cover article the following January ventured, “In the broadest and grandest of measurements, this crisis crescent envisioned by President Carter’s National Security Adviser reaches all the way from Indochina to Southern Africa. In practical terms, however, what Brzezinski is really speaking of are the nations that stretch across the southern flank of the Soviet Union from the Indian subcontinent to Turkey, and southward through the Arabian Peninsula to the Horn of Africa.”50 Accompanying the article was an inset map that detailed the region from northeastern Africa through the Arabian Peninsula and Persian Gulf to India. Shaded differently on the map are nations characterized starkly as either “CENTO members” or “Soviet-influenced states.” To make clear the economic value of the region, Time’s graphic artist depicted an oil tanker sailing through the Strait of Hormuz into the western Indian Ocean and “tanker routes” heading southeast along India’s coast, presumably to East Asia, and southwest towards the Gulf of Aden and, perhaps, the Cape of Good Hope.51 More strikingly, though, Time’s cover that week bares a dramatically artistic representation of the “arc of crisis” in the form of a pictorial map. On it a Russian bear, its head resting on the Central Asian Soviet republics, glares down menacingly on the lands to its southwest. The nations from Pakistan to Somalia are burnished in gold and tightly frame the Arabian Sea. Henrikson, in his 1980 article, devotes a lengthy footnote to a close reading of the map’s imagery, which he notes, suggests not only the malevolent designs of Soviet Russia on the region, but “evokes the ‘Fertile Crescent’ and the increasingly potent symbol of the holy crescent of Islam.” He concludes, “a State Department planning officer readily acknowledged to me that the Time cover was ‘a pretty good example’ of how map images reflect and shape political thinking.”52 The “arc of crisis,” concluded the Time article, comprised an area increasingly vital to the West’s economic health. Its stability was jeopardized by domestic political turmoil and Soviet military adventurism but also, it appeared, by the growing threat of volatile Islamic fundamentalism. This new phenomenon, which was roiling Iran, posed dangers insufficiently appreciated by policymakers in Washington. The Carter administration’s anxiety that the United States appeared impotent in the face of these challenges bolstered its determination to act assertively and to reconceptualize its goals and policies in the region. To do so required that the United States tie its military assets in the Indian Ocean to a new integrated framework of containment in the Persian Gulf region and the area soon to be labeled Southwest Asia. The Indian Ocean and the U.S. “Integrated Strategy for Regional Security,” 1979–1980 On January 16, 1979, the Carter White House was jolted by the news that the Shah of Iran had been forced to flee his country. As Gary Sick wrote, “The sudden and total collapse of the shah’s regime in Iran … effectively demolished a decade of U.S. strategy in the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf.”53 Just five weeks later, the president of North Yemen informed the U.S. ambassador that the government of Marxist South Yemen, with support from the Soviet Union, had attacked his country. War had erupted on the Arabian Peninsula.54 The twin crises in the Persian Gulf and Arabia convinced the Carter administration that it must act. The hawkish Brzezinski, who regularly couched his analysis and policy proposals in sweeping geopolitical terms, became the dominant voice in the president’s foreign policy circle. On the other hand, Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, known for his conciliatory and temporizing approach, saw his star eclipsed in the crisis atmosphere of the period. When Defense Secretary Harold Brown departed to survey the situation in the Middle East, Brzezinski was tasked with drafting President Carter’s instructions to him. His brief required Brown to “forcefully express our recognition of the strategic importance of the region, its strategic location, its vital resources, and its crucial role in establishing healthy patterns of internal development and North-South relations.” The secretary should “[m]ake it clear that we see the region to be under serious threat from Soviet power which is systematically exploiting internal instability as well as regional conflicts.” Finally, Brown was to emphasize to the region’s leaders that to counter these threats, the United States identified the need for “an integrated strategy for regional security to which it is prepared to make a strong political and military contribution.”55 For the next two years, Brzezinski’s NSC worked to design and implement this “integrated strategy for regional security” through its Special Coordination Committee and Policy Review Committee.56 The national security adviser’s visualization of an “arc of crisis” essentially established the terms of the task and set its geographic parameters. The trope of the “arc of crisis” proved very persistent and continued to focus public and official attention on this highly specific geography. Soviet officials saw it as especially pernicious, and the Soviet ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Dobrynin, dismissed it as “grandiose” and “notorious” in his 1995 memoir. Still, “it made for excellent propaganda,” he wrote, “and ended up in the vocabulary of numerous commentators and on the cover of Time magazine.”57 When President Carter met Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev in Vienna in June 1979, Brezhnev raised the issue directly. The memorandum of their conversation relates that “Brezhnev had been told that a rather strange theory had gained currency in the United States, a theory known as the arc of crisis … Brezhnev wished to say that this entire theory was an absolute fairy tale.”58 U.S. planners thought carefully throughout 1979 about how to tie the defense requirements of the Persian Gulf to the military assets the United States had marshaled, or could quickly assemble, in the Indian Ocean. In April, the NSC’s Special Coordination Committee approved an increased naval presence in the ocean and ordered a carrier task force into the Arabian Sea. At key meetings in June the NSC’s Policy Review Committee explored the necessity and feasibility of increasing the Navy’s presence in the ocean on a more permanent basis and again augmenting existing facilities on Diego Garcia. The Joint Chiefs of Staff revived their dormant planning for a Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force and contemplated Indian Ocean resources to put at its disposal.59 U.S. policymakers believed the Indian Ocean to be of subsidiary strategic interest to the Persian Gulf. They tasked the resources which could be stationed in the ocean with keeping Gulf oil transshipment routes free and preparing to counter Soviet or local revolutionary moves that endangered them. As one State Department official phrased it, “[W]e are planning an Indian Ocean presence as if the Indian Ocean were somehow coterminous with the Persian Gulf area.”60 The documentary record from the period is strewn with references variously to the “Persian Gulf,” the “Persian Gulf Region,” the “Persian Gulf/Indian Ocean,” “Indian Ocean/Persian Gulf,” or very occasionally, the “Indian Ocean.” The ways U.S. officials limned the region reflects the inexact and often malleable relationship between strategic and purely geographic concepts. By juggling these terms, planners expressed their uncertainty about the connection between the hard kernel of U.S. interests in the oil-producing regions of the Gulf and the Gulf’s wider geographic context, which included the Indian Ocean. At times, they appear to have imagined the Indian Ocean as an appendage of the Persian Gulf rather than the reverse. Iran’s seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran on November 4 and the Soviets’ military invasion of Afghanistan on Christmas Day galvanized the Carter administration’s planning for a regional security framework in the area. A second aircraft carrier was dispatched to the Indian Ocean, and by mid-December the first joint State and Defense Department teams were dispatched to Somalia, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, and Oman. Their mission was to identify potential military sites along the Indian Ocean’s shores, reassure local governments of the United States’ guarantee of their security, and, most importantly, establish the groundwork for negotiations to obtain local base rights.61 When Soviet forces moved into Afghanistan, U.S. officials were compelled to refine their “mental maps” of the area once again. At the beginning of the 1970s, the Indian Ocean had appeared to offer solutions to the security of the Persian Gulf in the form of resources from which the United States could act in the “arc of crisis.” Now the ocean seemed to be vulnerable to a historically-motivated Russian drive to reach its shores. As Brzezinski wrote to President Carter on December 26, “If the Soviets succeed in Afghanistan, and Pakistan acquiesces, the age-long dream of Moscow to have direct access to the Indian Ocean will have been fulfilled… . It could produce Soviet presence right down to the edge of the Arabian and Oman Gulfs.”62 When President Carter addressed the nation about the Afghanistan crisis on January 4, 1980, he declared, “A Soviet-occupied Afghanistan threatens both Iran and Pakistan and is a steppingstone to possible control over much of the world’s oil supplies.” As he spoke the camera focused tightly on a map of Afghanistan then panned slowly out to reveal the whole region, the Arabian Sea centered prominently for television viewers.63 A Defense Intelligence Commentary from January 7 offered validation: “The key motivation that propelled Moscow’s move was to bring its long-standing strategic goals within reach. Control of Afghanistan would be a major step toward overland access to the Indian Ocean and domination of the Asian sub-continent.”64 The Russian quest for “warm water ports” on the Indian Ocean was a trope Western policymakers and analysts invoked frequently in the months and years following the Soviet invasion. Its roots were deep and lay in the so-called “Testament of Peter the Great,” a document of uncertain origin that emerged during the Napoleonic era. The widely-discredited tract nevertheless persuaded generations of geopolitical thinkers from the nineteenth century British Empire to the Cold War councils of the United States that it was a reliable guide to Russian intentions.65 Further complicating the mental maps of U.S. foreign policymakers considering the Indian Ocean was a newly popularized geographic term, “Southwest Asia.” John C. Campbell, writing in Foreign Affairs, noted, “From the moment of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979, Washington began to talk of ‘Southwest Asia’ instead of the Middle East as the area of crisis and of American concern.”66 He concluded later, “‘Southwest Asia’ includes everything from the eastern fringes of the Arab world to the western limits of the Indian subcontinent. Roughly, it is Zbigniew Brzezinski’s ‘arc of crisis.’”67 Writing for the blog Middle East Strategy at Harvard, Martin Kramer explains, “Cold War strategists wished to emphasize that the region was crucial not because it was east of us, but because it was immediately southwest of the Soviet Union, which had a plan to push through to the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf. The sooner Americans started thinking about the region as ‘Southwest Asia,’ the sooner they would grasp the nature of the threat.”68 Southwest Asia was not a new label. The British geopolitical thinker Sir Olaf Caroe employed it in his 1951 treatise, Wells of Power: The Oilfields of South-western Asia: A Regional and Global Study, and the National Geographic Society published maps of “Southwest Asia” in 1952 and 1963. But now, the term was inescapable. Brzezinski used it in his December 26 missive to the president, and Carter repeated it in his January 4 television address. Just a month later, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee began hearings on “U.S. Security Interests and Policies in Southwest Asia.”69 “Southwest Asia” certainly encompassed a larger region than either the “Persian Gulf” or “Middle East,” and it comprised an area that faced the Indian Ocean on a much broader front. This, perhaps, made it easier for U.S. planners to envision the ocean’s strategic value to the area. The NSC’s Special Coordination Committee endorsed a massive expansion program of U.S. military facilities on Diego Garcia in January entailing an expenditure of $500 million over five years.70 Renewed efforts were made to acquire additional military facilities on the Indian Ocean’s shores. A memorandum to Brzezinski on January 28 observed, “The Indian Ocean access campaign is at the cutting edge of our effort to build a security structure in SW Asia in terms of its importance and its difficulty.”71 Nevertheless, agreements were initialed with the Kenyan government for U.S. access to the port of Mombasa, the Somali government granted permission for use of the former Soviet base at Berbera, and the Sultan of Oman granted the United States use of the air field on the island of Masirah.72 Brzezinski encouraged President Carter to think in broader historical terms about the role the United States should play in the Southwest Asia/Persian Gulf/Indian Ocean region. Just as President Harry Truman had established the parameters of U.S. Cold War policies in Europe through the 1947 Truman Doctrine, Carter could establish a doctrine to secure U.S. interests in another strategically vital part of the globe. The National Security Advisor wrote to the president, “The Soviet intervention in the present case is both more blatant and more brutal than in 1947, and the Gulf is unquestionably more vital to Western interests today than were Greece and Turkey 30 years ago.”73 Carter, of course, articulated his own “doctrine” in his State of the Union message on January 23, declaring, “An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.”74 For the remainder of his time in office, the Carter administration, with National Security Adviser Brzezinski in the lead, worked to formalize the “strategic framework” for the Persian Gulf, make the region “the third strategic zone after Europe and East Asia for U.S. security,” and put U.S. Indian Ocean military assets at its disposal.75 B-52 aircraft began reconnaissance flights over the Indian Ocean and an amphibious-ready group, comprising 1,800 Marines, deployed to the Indian Ocean.76 The Carter administration established no permanent Indian Ocean numbered fleet, but by the end of 1980 it created a new Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force, and a unified military command with responsibility for the area between Kenya and Kazakhstan existed in embryonic form.77 The Indian Ocean region, once bifurcated and peripheral on the maps consulted by U.S. strategic planners, had fully entered their consciousness, remade their mental geographies, and become the fulcrum of a new set of security policies. As U.S. officials’ mental map of the Indian Ocean as a coherent theater of Cold War policy and strategy was coalescing, the littoral states that had entreated the world a decade earlier to recognize the ocean’s fundamental unity found themselves increasingly uncertain about it. Only a year after proposing the Indian Ocean “peace zone,” Prime Minister Bandaranaike of Ceylon was obliged to reconsider the underpinnings of her initiative. In April 1971, Ceylon exploded in violence as the ultra-left Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) insurrection threatened to bring down the Bandaranaike government. The rebellion was quelled with materiel aid from the United States, the Soviet Union, China, India, and Pakistan, but it left the prime minister feeling acutely vulnerable.78 The conclusion of the Indo-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation in August appeared to strengthen the Soviet position in South Asia and promised to embolden Indian diplomacy in the region. Finally, the growing East Pakistan crisis threatened the subcontinent with war as December approached. During a conversation that month concerning the Indian Ocean as a peace zone, the U.S. ambassador in Colombo, Robert Strausz-Hupé, suggested to the prime minister that “the time could come when she would be happy to look out the window and see two U.S. aircraft carriers in the roadstead to which she nodded assent.”79 U.S.-Sri Lankan relations steadily improved throughout the 1970s as U.S. financial and food assistance poured into the country. Even though Sri Lanka continued to chair the UN Ad Hoc Committee on the Indian Ocean, its calls for the demilitarization of the ocean were considerably muted. Throughout the decade, the Indian Ocean states evinced a host of conflicting ideas and attitudes about the coherence of the region, its future, and their roles within it. Australia, tied to the United States through the ANZUS Treaty, found itself attempting to balance its interests in a conflict-free Indian Ocean with its close relationship to Washington. While the Liberal governments of William McMahon and Malcolm Fraser (1971–1972 and 1975–1983) strongly supported U.S. and British policies in the region, the Labour government of Gough Whitlam (1972–1975) worked to establish an independent policy in the Indian Ocean more closely aligned with those of its regional neighbors. Whitlam endorsed the idea of the IOZP but quietly assured the U.S. government that it would not oppose the expansion of the Diego Garcia facility.80 The Indian and Iranian governments, on the other hand, aspired to exercise political hegemony and naval dominance there. The Shah went so far as to propose in 1974 an Indian Ocean economic union, under Iranian auspices, which would include the states not only of the ocean’s western regions but also Burma, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, and Australia.81 Not content to act as the United States’ gendarme in the Persian Gulf, the Shah told Henry Kissinger, “We need a strong navy to get into the Indian Ocean” and expressed his desire to purchase U.S. Spruance-class destroyers with which to do so. He also made clear his intention to work with the apartheid government of South Africa in the ocean.82 The South Africans, who shared no political interests or sympathies with the NAM members behind the IOZP movement, saw their naval presence in the Indian Ocean and nominal status as defenders of the “Cape Route,” as assets that they could parlay to end their diplomatic isolation.83 Some states in the region were frankly apathetic or uninformed about Indian Ocean strategic issues. In response to a State Department telegram that requested information about regional governments’ public positions on the possible expansion of Diego Garcia, Ambassador David Osborne in Rangoon sent an infamous one-sentence reply: “The Burmese think Diego Garcia is a cigar.”84 His point, if not his attitude, was well-taken in Foggy Bottom. Perhaps the most devastating blow to the states proffering a vision of a unified and demilitarized Indian Ocean region came in March 1980 when the United States decided to join the UN Ad Hoc Committee on the Indian Ocean. Since 1972 the committee had worked to promote a vision of “The Third World’s Ocean,” free from superpower competition. As a State Department briefing paper explained, the United States had opted not to participate in the committee because “substantively we opposed the concept itself and tactically we saw little danger of the committee’s work producing tangible results.” Yet, by early 1980, “it was clear that unless we were in the committee to defend ourselves, the Soviets—who had just joined the committee—would have a better chance of damaging U.S. interests … These considerations, along with the opportunity to call the Soviets to account on Afghanistan, prompted our entry into the committee.”85 Thus, the most important forum in which the progressive states of the Third World had sought to promote a unified and cooperative Indian Ocean became a vehicle for U.S.-Soviet political combat. An examination of the contending “mental maps” of the Afro-Asian governments, many of which began the 1970s with a vision of the Indian Ocean as a unified “zone of peace” and U.S. foreign policymakers, who ended the decade with a new blueprint of the region as a coherent theater of diplomacy and strategic planning, may offer a productive new way of interrogating the past of this complex and fascinating area. It certainly affords a window into the ways U.S. policymakers visualized threats, real and imagined, emanating from the region and justified policies that led to a prodigious military buildup in the area and a series of American conflicts along the Indian Ocean’s shores. At the same time, it is useful to remember that scholars as well as policymakers have constructed their own mental maps of the ocean and its environs. These may be more consciously and thoughtfully articulated, but they are constructed nevertheless. The sophisticated work of historians like Pearson, McPherson, Chaudhuri, and Bose has illuminated the economic and social contours of an expansive Indian Ocean area and explicated the commercial and cultural ties that bound it together in centuries past. Their approach invites historians of U.S. foreign relations to contemplate similarly the modern geopolitical and military technological forces that have established the Indian Ocean as a venue of strategic competition and as an imagined geography since the era of Zbigniew Brzezinski’s “arc of crisis.” *The author would like to thank Roham Alvandi, Pierre Asselin, Diane B. Kunz, Melvyn P. Leffler, David S. Painter, Robert B. Rakove, and Mark Spaulding for their comments on earlier drafts of this article and would also like to thank Diplomatic History’s anonymous referees for their thoughtful reading of the manuscript. Footnotes 1 “Remarks of Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinksi, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, to the Foreign Policy Association, Capital Hilton Hotel, Washington, DC,” Office of the White House Press Secretary, December 20, 1978, Staff Offices—Press—Granum, File Unit: 12/12/78 – 12/31/78, container 59, Jimmy Carter Library (hereafter JCL). 2 “The Crescent of Crisis: Iran and a Region of Rising Instability,” Time, January 15, 1979, 18–25. 3 Alan K. Henrikson, “The Geographical ‘Mental Maps’ of American Foreign Policy Makers,” International Political Science Review 1, no. 4 (1980): 495; Henrikson, “Mental Maps,” in Explaining the History of American Foreign Relations, ed. Michael J. Hogan and Thomas G. Paterson (New York, 1991), 177; Henrikson, “Distance and Foreign Policy: A Political Geography Approach,” International Political Science Review 23, no. 4 (2002): 440–41. 4 Robert M. Kitchin, “Cognitive Maps: What Are They and Why Study Them?,” Journal of Environmental Psychology 14, no. 1 (1994): 1–19; Reginald G. Golledge, ed., Wayfaring Behavior: Cognitive Mapping and Other Spatial Processes (Baltimore, MD, 1999); Barbara Tversky, “Cognitive Maps, Cognitive Collages, and Spatial Mental Models,” in Spatial Information Theory: A Theoretical Basis for GIS (2005): 14–24; Lucia F. Jacobs and Francoise Schenk, “Unpacking the Cognitive Map: The Parallel Map Theory of Hippocampal Function,” Psychology Review 110, no. 2 (2003): 285–315. 5 Henrikson, “Mental Maps,” 177–92. 6 Luis da Vinha, “Charting Geographic Mental Maps in Foreign Policy Analysis: A Literature Review,” Human Geography – Journal of Studies and Research in Human Geography 6, no. 1 (2012): 5–17; Vinha, “Falling Dominos or the Role of Geographic Mental Maps in Foreign Policy,” European Journal of Geography 6, no. 4 (2015): 76–87; David Criekmans and Manual Duran, “Mental Maps, Geopolitics, and Foreign Policy Analysis: Basic Analytic Framework and Application to Sub-State Diplomacy in the Mediterranean” (paper, Third Global International Studies Conference, University of Porto, Portugal, August 17, 2011). 7 Aiyaz Husain, Mapping the End of Empire: American and British Strategic Visions in the Postwar World (Cambridge, MA, 2014). Another notable example is Mental Maps in the Era of Détente and the End of the Cold War 1968–91, ed. Steven Casey and Jonathan Wright (New York, 2015). 8 Michael N. Pearson, “History of the Indian Ocean: A Review Essay,” Wasafiri 26, no. 2 (2011): 78–99; Markus P. M. Vink, “Indian Ocean Studies and the ‘New Thalassology,’” Journal of Global History 2, no. 1 (2007): 41–62; Sebastian R. Prange, “Scholars and the Sea: A Historiography of the Indian Ocean,” History Compass 6, no. 5 (2008): 1382–93; S. Arasaratnam, “Recent Trends in the Historiography of the Indian Ocean, 1500–1800,” Journal of World History 1, no. 2 (1990): 225–48; Françoise Vergès, “Writing on Water: Peripheries, Flows, Capital, and Struggles in the Indian Ocean,” Positions 11, no. 1 (2003): 241–57. 9 K. N. Chaudhuri, Trade and Civilization in the Indian Ocean: An Economic History from the Rise of Islam to 1750 (Cambridge, UK, 1985); K. N. Chaudhuri, “The Unity and Disunity of Indian Ocean History from the Rise of Islam to 1750: The Outline of a Theory and Historical Discourse,” Journal of World History 4, no. 1 (1993): 1–21; Kenneth McPherson, The Indian Ocean: A History of People and the Sea (New York, 1998); Michael Pearson, The Indian Ocean (London, 2003); Sugata Bose, A Hundred Horizons: The Indian Ocean in the Age of Global Empire (Cambridge, MA, 2006). 10 Christopher J. Lee, “The Indian Ocean during the Cold War: Thinking through a Critical Geography,” History Compass 11, no. 7 (2013): 524–30. 11 William Stivers, America’s Confrontation with Revolutionary Change in the Middle East (New York, 1986), 43–59. The most important secondary literature on Anglo-American relations in the Indian Ocean includes Peter Harris, “Decolonizing the Special Relationship: Diego Garcia, the Chagossians, and Anglo-American Relations,” Review of International Studies 39 (2013): 707–27; David Vine, Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia (Princeton, NJ, 2009); Peter H. Sand, United States and Britain in Diego Garcia: The Future of a Controversial Base (New York, 2009); Vytautus B. Bandjunis, Diego Garcia: Creation of the Indian Ocean Base (San Jose, CA, 2001); Monoranjan Bezboruah, U.S. Strategy in the Indian Ocean: The International Response (New York, 1977); P. G. Boxhall, “The Strategic Use of Islands in a Troubled Ocean,” Journal of the Royal United Service Institution, 111 (1966): 336–41; Alastair Buchan, “Britain in the Indian Ocean,” International Affairs 42, no. 2 (1966): 184–93; Joel Laurus, “Negotiating Independence: Mauritius and Diego Garcia,” The Round Table 294 (1985): 132–45; Paul B. Ryan, “Diego Garcia,” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 110 (1984): 132–36; D. C. Watt, “Britain and the Indian Ocean: Diplomacy Before Defense,” The Political Quarterly 42, no. 3 (1971): 306–15. 12 Memorandum for the President from R. W. Komer, June 19, 1963, National Security File, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Staff Memos—Komer, box 322, John F. Kennedy Library (hereafter JFKL). 13 “Defense Problems in the Indian Ocean Area,” Attachment to State Department Airgram, A-2170, London to Washington, January 21, 1964, file DEF 1 IND, Central Files, 1964–1966, Record Group 59 (hereafter RG 59), National Archives and Records Administration (hereafter NARA). 14 “Indian Ocean Islands,” Letter from the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs to Secretary McNamara, June 12, 1965, Foreign Relations of the United States (hereafter FRUS), 1964–1968, vol. XXI, Near East; Congo; Africa, Microfiche Supplement, ed. Nina Davis Howland (Washington, DC, 2000), 94–96; Minutes of a Meeting of the Defence and Oversea Policy (Official) Committee, Subcommittee on Defence Facilities in the Indian Ocean, OPD (O) (I.O.) (65) 1st Meeting, October 20, 1965, CAB 148/62, the National Archives of the UK (hereafter TNA); “Indian Ocean Islands,” Memorandum from the Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs the Secretary of State, October 8, 1965, file DEF 15 IND-US, Central Files, 1964–1966, RG 59, NARA; “Draft Agreements with the United States Government on the Use of the BIOT,” Note by the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Defence Facilities in the Indian Ocean to the Defence and Oversea Policy Committee, November 8, 1965, CAB 148/76, TNA. 15 “Soviet Maritime Activity in the Indian Ocean,” Department of State Airgram CA-3090, May 27, 1969, file DEF 7 IND-USSR, Central Files, 1967–1969, RG 59, NARA; T. B. Millar, Soviet Policies South and East of Suez,” Foreign Affairs 49, no. 1 (1970): 70–80; James M. McConnell, “The Soviet Navy in the Indian Ocean,” Professional Paper no. 77, Center for Naval Analyses, August 1971; Alexander O. Ghebhardt, “Soviet and U.S. Interests in the Indian Ocean,” Asian Survey 15, no. 8 (1975): 672–83; Walter K. Andersen, “Soviets in the Indian Ocean: Much Ado about Something—But What?,” Asian Survey 24, no. 9 (1984): 910–30; Michael MccGwire, Military Objectives in Soviet Foreign Policy (Washington, DC, 1987): 196–210. 16 “Soviet Activity in the Indian Ocean Area,” Minute by A. M. Simmons (PUSD), September 14, 1970, FCO 31/640, TNA. 17 “British Indian Ocean Territory,” Letter from the Foreign Secretary (Home) to Sir Julian Amery, April 28, 1971, FCO 46/753, TNA. 18 “The Indian Ocean and Prime Minister Heath’s Visit,” memorandum for Dr. Kissinger, December 15, 1970, NSC Institutional Files, Meeting Files (1969–1974), SRG Meetings, SRG Meeting—Indian Ocean (NSSM 104), December 9, 1970, box H-050, Nixon Presidential Materials Project (hereafter NPMP), NARA; “East of Suez (Including Soviet Naval Expansion and B.I.O.T),” Brief by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Visit of the Prime Minister to Washington, December 17–18, 1970, November 30, 1970, FCO 46/558, TNA; “Background Note,” prepared in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, n.d., ca. early December 1970, FCO 46/642, TNA. 19 National Security Study Memorandum 104 “Soviet and Friendly Naval Involvement in the Indian Ocean Area, 1971–1975,” November 9, 1970, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), box H–176, NPMP, NARA. 20 “Indian Ocean Strategy (Response to NSSM 199),” n.d., ca. May–August 1974, FRUS, 1969–1976, vol. E-8, Documents on South Asia, 1973–1976, eds. Paul J. Hibbeln and Peter A. Kraemer (Washington, DC, 2007), doc. 77. 21 “U.S. Interests in the Indian Ocean as it Pertains to Possible U.S. Naval Forces and Basing Arrangements,” December 4, 1970, NSC H-Files, SRG Meeting Indian Ocean (NSSM 104), box H-050, NPMP, NARA. 22 Gary Sick, “The Evolution of U.S. Strategy toward the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf Regions,” in The Great Game: Rivalry in the Persian Gulf and South Asia, ed. Alvin Z. Rubinstein (Westport, CT, 1983), 59. 23 National Security Study Memorandum 110, “Follow-on Study of Strategy Toward the Indian Ocean,” December 22, 1970, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), National Security Study Memoranda, NSSM 110, box H–178, NPMP, NARA. 24 “NSSM-110—Indian Ocean Follow-on Study,” Analytical Summary and Issues Paper prepared by the NSC Staff, n.d., NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Senior Review Group Meetings, SRG Meeting Indian Ocean 10/6/71, box H–060, NPMP, NARA. 25 “Indian Ocean—NSSM-110,” Minutes of a Senior Review Group Meeting, April 22, 1971, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Senior Review Group, SRG Minutes (Originals) 1971, box H–112, NPMP, NARA. 26 S. U. Kodikara, “Major Trends in Sri Lanka’s Non-Alignment Policy after 1956,” Asian Survey 13, no. 12 (1973): 1125. 27 Quoted in “Attitudes Toward Ceylon’s Indian Ocean Peace Zone Proposal,” Research Study by the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, February 23, 1972, file POL 33-6 IND, Central Files, 1970–1973, RG 59, NARA. 28 Quoted in Kodikara, “Major Trends in Sri Lanka’s Non-Alignment Policy after 1956,” 1135. 29 United Nations, Yearbook of the United Nations, 1971 (New York, 1972), 33–35. 30 United Nations, Yearbook of the United Nations, 1972 (New York, 1973), 28–30. 31 “The Indian Ocean: Political and Strategic Future,” Hearings before the Subcommittee on National Security Policy and Scientific Developments of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, 92nd Congress, 1st Session, July 20, 22, 27, and 28, 1971 (Washington, DC, 1971), iii–vi. 32 Timothy Barney, Mapping the Cold War: Cartography and the Framing of America’s International Power (Chapel Hill, NC, 2015), 4; William Rankin, After the Map: Cartography, Navigation, and the Transformation of Territory in the Twentieth Century (Chicago, IL, 2016); Charles S. Maier, Once within Borders: Territories of Power, Wealth, and Belonging since 1500 (Cambridge, MA, 2016). 33 “Indian Ocean Strategy (Response to NSSM 199),” Study Prepared in Response to National Security Study Memorandum 199, “Indian Ocean Strategy,” n.d. (ca. May 1974), NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Senior Review Group Meetings, August 15, 1974–February 12, 1976, box H-090, Gerald Ford Library (hereafter GFL); Walter S. Poole, The Joint Chiefs of Staff and National Policy, 1969–1972, Office of Joint History, Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Washington, DC, 2013), 208–9. 34 Sick, “The Evolution of U.S. Strategy toward the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf Regions,” 65. 35 David S. Painter, “Oil and the October War,” in The October 1973 War: Politics, Diplomacy, Legacy, ed. Asaf Siniver (London, 2013), 178. 36 Walter S. Poole, The Joint Chiefs of Staff and National Policy, 1973–1976, Office of Joint History, Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Washington, DC, 2015), 197–98; “Rationale for Naval Deployments in the Indian Ocean and Proposed Expansion of Diego Garcia,” attachment to letter from Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger to Senator John C. Stennis, January 29, 1974, FRUS, 1969–1976, vol. E-8, doc. 66; Sick, “The Evolution of U.S. Strategy toward the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf Regions,” 63–64. 37 “Proposed Expansion of U.S. Military Facilities in the Indian Ocean,” Hearings before the Subcommittee on the Near East and South Asia of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, 93rd Congress, 2nd Session, February 21; March 6, 12, 14, 20, 1974 (Washington, DC, 1974), vii, 130, 153. 38 National Security Study Memorandum 199, March 14, 1974, FRUS, 1969–1976, vol. E-8, doc. 70. 39 Central Intelligence Agency, Indian Ocean Atlas (Washington, DC, 1976), 3. 40 Barney, Mapping the Cold War, 3. 41 Ibid., 24–25. 42 Barney, Mapping the Cold War, 25. 43 James Francis Giblin, Jr., “The Indian Ocean Naval Arms Limitations Talks: From a Zone of Peace to the Arc of Crisis,” (PhD diss., Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, 1984), 250. 44 “Military Significance of Soviet Developed Facilities in Somalia,” Defense Intelligence Estimate DIE SOV 2–76, February 20, 1976, FRUS, 1969–1976, vol. E-6, Documents on Africa, 1973–1976, eds. Peter Samson and Laurie Van Hook (Washington, DC, 2006), doc. 155; “Soviet Military Capability in Berbera, Somalia,” Report of Senator [Dewey F.] Bartlett to the Committee on Armed Services, United States Senate, July 1975 (Washington, DC, 1975), 2. 45 Quoted in Donna R. Jackson, Jimmy Carter and the Horn of Africa: Cold War Policy in Ethiopia and Somalia (Jefferson, NC, 2007), 122–23. Key documents on the Horn may be found in FRUS, 1977–1980, vol. XVII, part 1, The Horn of Africa, ed. Louise Woodroofe (Washington, DC, 2016) and the National Security Archive’s Carter-Brezhnev Project, “Global Competition and the Deterioration of Détente, 1977–1980,” records of a conference held in Fort Lauderdale, FL, March 23–26, 1995, Conference Briefing Book; Nancy Mitchell, Jimmy Carter in Africa: Race and the Cold War (Stanford, CA, 2016); Radoslav A. Yordanov, The Soviet Union and the Horn of Africa during the Cold War (Lanham, MD, 2016); Louise Woodroofe, Buried in the Sands of the Ogaden: The United States, the Horn of Africa, and the Demise of Détente (Kent, OH, 2013); Robert G. Patman, The Soviet Union in the Horn of Africa (New York, 1991); Melvyn Leffler, For the Soul of Mankind: The United States, the Soviet Union, and the Cold War (New York, 2007), 273–88. 46 “Changes in Iran: Their Policy Implications for the Region and U.S. Interests,” memorandum from Mr. Raphel (S/P) to Secretary Vance, November 17, 1979, Remote Archives Capture (hereafter RAC) NLC-6-29-2-52-5, JCL. 47 Zbigniew Brzezinski, Power and Principle: Memoirs of the National Security Adviser, 1977–1981 (New York, 1983), 446. 48 “Middle East/Persian Gulf Initiatives,” memorandum from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Secretary of Defense Brown, January 11, 1979, FRUS, 1977–1980, vol. XVIII, Middle East Region; Arabian Peninsula, ed. Kelly M. McFarland (Washington, DC, 2015), doc. 11, 29–30. 49 “NSC Weekly Report #81,” Memorandum from the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski) to President Carter, December 2, 1978, FRUS, 1977–1980, vol. I, Foundations of Foreign Policy, ed. Kristin L. Ahlberg (Washington, DC, 2014), doc. 100. 50 Time, “Iran: The Crescent of Crisis,” 18. 51 Ibid., 19. 52 Henrikson, “The Geographical ‘Mental Maps’ of American Foreign Policy Makers,” 527, fn 6. 53 Sick, “The Evolution of U.S. Strategy toward the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf,” 70. 54 Raymond L. Garthoff, Détente and Confrontation: American-Soviet Relations from Nixon to Reagan (Washington, DC, 1994), 719–26. 55 Letter from President Carter to Secretary of Defense Brown, February 9, 1979, FRUS, 1977–1980, vol. XVIII, doc. 19, 57; Brzezinski, Power and Principle, 447. 56 FRUS, 1977–1980, vol. XVIII, docs. 21-98. Brzezinski, Power and Principle, 446–47; Olaf Njølstad, “Shifting Priorities: The Persian Gulf in U.S. Strategic Planning in the Carter Years,” Cold War History 4, no. 3 (2004): 21–55; William E. Odom, “The Cold War Origins of the U.S. Central Command,” Journal of Cold War Studies 8, no. 2 (2006): 52–82. 57 Anatoly Dobrynin, In Confidence: Moscow’s Ambassador to America’s Six Cold War Presidents (New York, 1995), 420, 452. 58 “International Issues,” memorandum of a conversation between President Jimmy Carter and President L. I. Brezhnev, June 17, 1979, reproduced in the Carter-Brezhnev Project, “Global Competition and the Deterioration of Détente, 1977–1980,” records of a conference held in Fort Lauderdale, FL, March 23–26, 1995, Conference Briefing Book, National Security Archive. 59 Rearden and Foulkes, The Joint Chiefs of Staff and National Policy, 1977–1980, 25, 28–34; Minutes of Policy Review Committee Meetings, June 21 and 22, 1979, FRUS, 1977–1980, vol. XVIII, doc. 26, 86–101. 60 “Evening Report,” memorandum from NSC staffer Thomas Thornton to Brzezinski, July 17, 1979, RAC NLC-24-100-5-24-3, JCL. 61 “Improved Prospects of US Access to Bases in the Middle East,” memorandum from Brzezinski to President Carter, December 25, 1979, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Country File, Middle East: 8–12/79, box 51, JCL. 62 “Reflections on Soviet Intervention in Afghanistan,” memorandum from Brzezinski to President Carter, December 26, 1979, RAC NLC-17-72-10-1-2, JCL. 63 Jimmy Carter, “Address to the Nation on the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan,” January 4, 1980, The American Presidency Project, accessed July 1, 2016, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=32911. 64 Quoted in Andrew Hartman, “‘The Red Template’: US Policy in Soviet-Occupied Afghanistan,” Third World Quarterly 23, no. 3 (2002): 471. 65 William C. Green, “The Historic Russian Drive for a Warm Water Port,” Naval War College Review XLVI (1993): 80–102. See, also, Albert Reiss, “Russophobia and the ‘Testament’ of Peter the Great, 1812-1980,” Slavic Review 44 (1985): 681–93. 66 John C. Campbell, “The Middle East: A House of Containment Built on Shifting Sands,” Foreign Affairs 60, no. 3 (1981): 598. 67 John C. Campbell review of Maya Chadda, Paradox of Power: the United States in Southwest Asia, 1973–1984, Foreign Affairs 65, no. 2 (1986): 409. 68 Martin Kramer, “Southwest Asia,” Middle East Strategy at Harvard, John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies, Harvard University, March 2, 2009, accessed July 14, 2016, https://blogs.harvard.edu/mesh/2009/03/southwest-asia/. This portion of my article is heavily indebted to Kramer’s lengthy post. 69 “U.S. Security Interests and Policies in Southwest Asia,” Hearings before the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, and the Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, 96th Congress, 2nd Session, February 6, 7, 20, 27 and March 4, 18, 1980 (Washington, DC, 1980). 70 “SCC Meeting on Southwest Asia and the Persian Gulf,” January 17, 1980, RAC NLC-132-107-22-1-1, JCL. 71 “Indian Ocean Access SCC on (Kenya, Somalia, Oman, Saudi Arabia),” memorandum from Fritz Ermarth and Jasper Welch to Brzezinski, January 28, 1980, RAC, NLC-31-11-13-3-8, JCL. 72 Sick, “The Evolution of U.S. Strategy toward the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf Regions,” 74–75. 73 “Relevance of the Truman Doctrine to the Current Situation,” memorandum from Brzezinski to President Carter, January 2, 1980, quoted in FRUS, 1977–1980, vol. XVIII, Editorial Note, doc. 80, 266–68. 74 Jimmy Carter, “The State of the Union: Address Delivered Before a Joint Session of the Congress, January 23, 1980,” Public Papers of the President of the United States, Jimmy Carter, 1980–81, Book I, January 1–May 23, 1980 (Washington, DC, 1981), 194–200. 75 “Persian Gulf-Southwest Asia Region,” April 29, 1980, quoted in Daniel J. Sargent, A Superpower Transformed: The Remaking of American Foreign Relations in the 1970s (New York, 2015), 289. 76 Sick, “The Evolution of U.S. Strategy toward the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf Regions,” 75. 77 “Persian Gulf Security Framework,” memorandum from Secretary of Defense Brown to Brzezinski, November 21, 1980, FRUS, 1977–1980, vol. XVIII, doc. 96, 313–20; “Persian Gulf Security Framework,” Presidential Directive/NSC-63, January 15, 1981, FRUS, 1977–1980, vol. XVIII, doc. 98, 325–28. 78 “Talking Points for SRG Meeting on Ceylon,” memorandum for Dr. Kissinger, April 22, 1971, NSC Institutional Files, Meetings Files (1969–1974), SRG Meetings, SRG Meeting – Indian Ocean (NSSM 104), April, 22, 1971, box H-054, NPMP, NARA. 79 “Indian Ocean Peace Zone,” State Department telegram 3468, Colombo to Washington, December 13, 1971, file POL 33-6 IND, Central Files, 1970-1973, RG 59, NARA. 80 “Australia and the Indian Ocean Region: Report from the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence,” (Canberra, 1977); Henry S. Albinski, “Australia and the Indian Ocean,” in The Indian Ocean in Global Politics, ed. Larry W. Bowman and Ian Clark (Boulder, CO, 1981): 59–86; Changwei Chen, “A Diplomatic Tightrope: The Whitlam Government and the Diego Garcia Dilemma,” Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 42, no. 3 (2013): 530–50. 81 See David Scott, “The Indian Ocean as India’s Ocean,” in The Oxford Handbook of Indian Foreign Policy, ed. David M. Malone, C. Raja Mohan, and Srinath Raghavan (New York, 2016), 466–78; Talat Parveen, Iran’s Policy towards the Gulf (New Delhi, 2006), 84. 82 Memorandum of a conversation between the Shah of Iran and Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger, July 24, 1973, FRUS, 1969–1976, vol. XXVII, Iran; Iraq, 1973–1976, ed. Monica L. Belmonte (Washington, DC, 2012), doc. 26, 88–94. 83 Roger Pfister, Apartheid South Africa and African States: from Pariah to Middle Power (London, 2005), 85–86; J. E. Spence, “South Africa and the Defence of the West,” Survival 13, no. 3 (1971): 78–84. 84 State Department telegram 1398, Rangoon to Washington, May 29, 1975, Central Foreign Policy File, 1973–1979, Electronic Telegrams, 1975, RG 59, NARA. 85 “Guidance for USDEL to June 2–13 Meeting of Ad Hoc Committee on Indian Ocean,” Scope Paper, May 30, 1980, NSC Institutional Files, 1974–1977, “Brf. Book for June 2–13 [1980] Session of Ad Hoc Committee on Indian Ocean,” box 79, GFL. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices)

Journal

Diplomatic HistoryOxford University Press

Published: Sep 1, 2018

There are no references for this article.

You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.


DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Search

Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly

Organize

Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.

Access

Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

DeepDyve

Freelancer

DeepDyve

Pro

Price

FREE

$49/month
$360/year

Save searches from
Google Scholar,
PubMed

Create lists to
organize your research

Export lists, citations

Read DeepDyve articles

Abstract access only

Unlimited access to over
18 million full-text articles

Print

20 pages / month

PDF Discount

20% off