It might be reasonable to assume that American defense efforts in the Middle East, beginning with the Carter Doctrine and leading up to the establishment of CENTCOM, represent nothing particularly new in terms of the magnitude of American military interaction with the region. Looking back to the first days of the Cold War, the Middle East was in fact one of the earliest points of superpower rivalry. At least two major presidential policies - the Truman and Eisenhower doctrines -were enunciated in connection with the security of important segments of the Middle East. Throughout the 1950s, various well-known attempts were made to integrate the Middle East into the West’s global alliance system between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the South East Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO): the Middle East Command, the Middle East Defense Organization, the Baghdad Pact, and the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO). In retrospect, this period of American self assurance and Cold War consensus appears, if anything, to have been a high point for American global power. This impression of an omnipotent America prior to the Vietnam War and the Energy Crises of the 1970s was best encapsulated by Raymond Aron, who called this early postwar period - when the US erected its containment system around the periphery of the Soviet bloc- the era of Pax Americana. 1