Seminário aberto

America in the Middle East: Two Centuries of US foreign policy

Luís da Vinha (Faculdade de Economia da Universidade de Coimbra)

13 de dezembro de 2013, 17h00

Sala de Seminários do IEI (6º piso), Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Coimbra


The unrivalled strategic value of the Middle East to the US is currently indisputable. The Carter Doctrine effectively coupled the security of the Persian Gulf region with American global security. Over the last two decades the US has been involved in multiple wars and military operations in the region and the 2010 National Security Strategy reiterates that “We have an array of enduring interests, longstanding commitments and new opportunities for broadening and deepening relationships in the greater Middle East”. Moreover, the commitment to a continued US involvement in the Middle East has recently been reaffirmed in several official documents.

In reality, the US has always had an interest and been involved in the Middle East. Since the founding of the Republic in the late 18th century, the Middle East has attracted the attention of American decision-makers for a number of different reasons. Above all, three main elements have contributed to defining American national interest and determining the relationship between the US and the Middle East: national security, economic well being, and value projection. In each particular historical period, these three themes have competed with each other as the overriding dynamic underlying US foreign policy.

The current presentation analyses American Middle East policy since the early republic. It seeks to identify recurrent themes and dynamics in US foreign policy, highlighting the main elements that have contributed to define the American experience in the Middle East region.



Luis da Vinha has a B.A. (Licenciatura) and a M.A. Degree in Geography from the School of Humanities of the University of Coimbra. Luis is currently a Doctoral Candidate in International Relations at the School of Economics of the University of Coimbra, where he has also acted as a teaching assistant for the courses of "Foreign Policies of the Great Powers" and "Political System of the European Union". Luis is also a guest researcher at the Research Center of Geography and Planning of the University of Minho since 2009.

As of November 2011, Luis is the Head of Geographic Information Bureau of the City of Coimbra. He is also working on the implementation of the European Project CIVITAS MODERN in the city of Coimbra, namely acting as the Local Dissemination Manager.

Among his publications:

Barrinha, André; da Vinha, Luís (forthcoming) “Dealing with Risk: Precision Strikes and Interventionism in the Obama Administration” in Aaronson, Mike; Aslam, Wali; Dyson, Tom; Rauxloh, Regina (Eds.) Hitting the Target? Precision-Strike Capabilities and International Intervention. London: Routledge.

da Vinha, Luís (forthcoming) “Revisiting the Carter Administration’s Human Rights Policy: Understanding Traditional Challenges for Contemporary Foreign Policy” Revista de Paz y Conflictos

Freire, Maria Raquel; da Vinha, Luís (2011), Política externa: modelos, actores e dinâmicas, in Maria Raquel Freire (org.), Política Externa: As Relações Internacionais em Mudança. Coimbra: Imprensa da Universidade de Coimbra, 13-54.

da Vinha, Luís (2012), "Charting Geographic Mental Maps in Foreign Policy Analysis: A Literature Review", Human Geographies — Journal of Studies and Research in Human Geography, 6, 1, 5-17.

da Vinha, Luís (2012), "O Inevitável Declínio do Poder Americano Ou Vinho Velho em Garrafa Nova?", R:I Relações Internacionais, 34, 107-116.

da Vinha, Luís (2011), "Assessing the Conceptual “Goodness” of Geographic Mental Maps for Foreign Policy Analysis", Romanian Review on Political Geography, 13, 2, 133-148.

da Vinha, Luís (2010), "Radical Reconstructions: A Critical Analogy of US Post-conflict State-building", Nação e Defesa, 126, 5, 191-224.


Nota. Atividade no âmbito do Programa de Doutoramento "Estudos Americanos"