Jeffrey Byrne

Associate Professor

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Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.

Perception, persuasion, and unity: the building of the United Arab Republic and the Arab Federation (2022)

This study examines the legitimacy of two Pan-Arab unions founded in the opening months of 1958. The first was the United Arab Republic (UAR), a union between Egypt and Syria, and the second was the Hashemite Arab Federation (AF) between Jordan and Iraq. The UAR is often framed in academia and collective memory of Arab societies as a disastrous, but genuine, attempt at Arab Unity, while the AF is usually forgotten and considered illegitimate. I posit that legitimacy, defined broadly as a set of attitudes by citizens which suggest that the state is rightfully holding and exercising political power, is crucial in order to understand the disappearance of the latter union from historical memory. This study compares the motivations for the unions and their ideological underpinnings against the implicit and explicit messaging within these unions’ newspapers and radio broadcasts. I argue that it is through implicit media messaging about Arab Nationalism, and the production of separate forms of nationalism, that legitimacy is formed. By legitimizing one nationalism over the other, Arab citizens consciously and unconsciously chose to disregard the other and its products, opting to legitimize and remember the UAR, and delegitimize and forget the AF.

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The wisdom of indifference: Henry Kissinger, Cyprus, and the value of deprioritizing (2021)

This thesis examines the ways in which top American policymakers, led by Henry Kissinger, crafted the American response to the Cyprus crisis in 1974. Cyprus is primarily comprised of two ethnic communities—Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. The tensions between the two populations increased as Cyprus approached independence from Great Britain, which it achieved in 1960. Greece and Turkey maintained a vested interest in protecting their respective Cypriot communities, but the two countries had fundamentally incompatible goals for Cyprus. Athens desired for the island to unite with Greece, whereas Ankara wanted to partition the island into two separate states. The United States had no geostrategic interests in Cyprus itself, but as Greece and Turkey were two important Cold War allies, American policymakers had an interest in ensuring relative stability in the region. The 1974 Cyprus crisis began when Greek military officers helped to orchestrate a coup d’état to depose the Cypriot President, Archbishop Makarios III. Turkey responded by launching a military operation on the island, which resulted in two rounds of United Nations-mandated peace conferences between the involved parties to negotiate a short-term ceasefire and then a longer-term solution. While not an official member of the peace conference process, the United States did have a significant interest in avoiding a Greek-Turkish war in the valuable Eastern Mediterranean region. The American response was led almost entirely by Henry Kissinger, particularly because Gerald Ford took office in the middle of the crisis. Against the advice of many within the broader American foreign policy establishment, Kissinger advocated for a policy of minimal American involvement.

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