This article analyzes the Aswan Dam decision in terms of the interaction between individual perceptions and institutional priorities in the formulation of US foreign policy. The conceptual framework is drawn from the work of Richard Cottam and Richard Herrmann. After a background discussion of the history of both the Eisenhower and Gamal 'Abd al-Nasser Administrations, the article presents an analysis of the Eisenhower Administration's deliberations regarding the Aswan Dam decision. This analysis shows that US decision-makers interpreted Egypt and Nasser's actions according to a set of pre-established perceptions which clearly resulted in policies that contradicted the best interests of the US.
The Middle East Institute has published The Middle East Journal quarterly since 1947. The Journal provides original and objective research and analysis, as well as source material, on the area from Morocco to Pakistan and including Central Asia. The Journal provides the background necessary for an understanding and appreciation of the region's political and economic development, cultural heritage, ethnic and religious diversity.