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Other titles in the Oxford Studies in International History series:
The Global Offensive: The United States, the Palestine Liberation Organization, and the Making of the Post-Cold War Order (Oxford Studies in International History)by Paul Thomas Chamberlin
Synopses & Reviews
In 1968, a ragtag group of Palestinian guerrillas burst onto the world stage as part of a global offensive that combined controversial armed operations, diplomacy, and revolutionary politics. In the following years, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) forced the question of Palestine to the forefront of the world's attention and cement its status as the sole legitimate representative of a nation of people striving for statehood. While their spectacular acts of revolutionary violence - hijackings, guerrilla attacks, suicide operations - seized headlines and made the PLO the face of "international terrorism" in the 1970s, it would be the organization's diplomatic campaign that would propel it to prominence in the global arena. By the middle years of the decade, the PLO would stand beside Vietnamese, Cuban, Algerian, and South African guerrilla fighters at the vanguard of a new generation of revolutionaries in the Third World.
More than just a subplot in the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Palestinian struggle sat the juncture of a critical phase in the Cold War and the wave of revolutions that swept through the Third World in the 1960s. Using Arabic sources and recently declassified U.S. documents, The Global Offensive returns the PLO's story to its international context. As the PLO gained both prestige and infamy, leaders in both the United States and the Soviet Union hastened to come to terms with this new force in Middle Eastern affairs. Fearing the PLO's potential to revolutionize the Arab world and project armed violence across a global spectrum, American leaders faced the choice of establishing diplomatic relations with the organization or crafting a containment policy for a new generation of Arab revolutionaries. Their decisions--along with those of Palestinian, Arab, and Israeli leaders--would have dramatic implications into the twenty-first century and help to remake the art of revolution and the structure of global power in the late-Cold War world and beyond. However, despite its sweeping victories in the international system, the Palestinian liberation struggle would not gain statehood in the twentieth century.
On March 21, 1968, Yasir Arafat and his guerrillas made the fateful decision to break with conventional guerrilla tactics, choosing to stand and fight an Israeli attack on the al-Karama refugee camp in Jordan. They suffered terrible casualties, but they won a stunning symbolic victory that transformed Arafat into an Arab hero and allowed him to launch a worldwide campaign, one that would reshape Cold War diplomacy and revolutionary movements everywhere.
In The Global Offensive, historian Paul Thomas Chamberlin offers new insights into the rise of the Palestine Liberation Organization in its full international context. After defeat in the 1967 war, the crushing of a guerrilla campaign on the West Bank, and the attack on al-Karama, Arafat and his fellow guerilla fighters opened a global offensive aimed at achieving national liberation for the Palestinian people. In doing so, they reinvented themselves as players on the world stage, combining controversial armed attacks, diplomacy, and radical politics. They forged a network of nationalist revolutionaries, making alliances with South African rebels, Latin American insurrectionists, and Vietnamese Communists. They persuaded the United Nations to take up their agenda, and sent Americans and Soviets scrambling as these stateless forces drew new connections across the globe. "The Vietnamese and Palestinian people have much in common," General Vo Nguyen Giap would tell Arafat, "just like two people suffering from the same illness." Richard Nixon's views mirrored Giap's: "You cannot separate what happens to America in Vietnam from the Mideast or from Europe or any place else."
Deftly argued and based on extensive new research, The Global Offensive will change the way we think of the history of not only the PLO, but also the Cold War and international relations since.
About the Author
Paul Chamberlin is Associate Professor of History at the University of Kentucky.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Palestine Liberation and the Dawn of the Post-Cold War Era
1. The Struggle against Oppression Everywhere
2. The Storm
3. Nixon, Kissinger, and the Terror of a Post-Imperial World
4. The Jordanian Civil War
5. A Worldwide Interlocking Terrorist Network
6. "The Torch Has Been Passed From Vietnam To Us"
7. The Diplomatic Struggle
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