When the United States cast its vote in 1948 in support of the establishment of the State of Israel, neither Harry Truman nor any other key foreign policy figure in Washington believed that the tiny state would be of assistance in furthering American strategic objectives. Indeed, opposition to Israel from within the foreign policy community was intense. It was largely based on the belief that US support for Israel would be harmful to key US strategic and political interests in the region—particularly, preserving western access to oil, maintaining friendly relations with the Arab world, and countering the spread of communism. 1