U.S., Soviet Complications Abound in Middle East, Arms Talks / U.S. Commitment to Persian Gulf Not Only Wise, but Essential Policy

Article excerpt

When the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries was controlling the world oil market in the late 1970s, we became concerned about how to maintain our own energy supplies in case foreign supplies were cut off.

We felt so threatened that Jimmy Carter publicly vowed to keep the Persian Gulf open and the oil flowing, with military force, if necessary, and even by using nuclear weapons.

In May, when the U.S.S. Stark was attacked by the Iraqis in the Persian Gulf, we were reminded of how volatile the Middle East still is. Many began to question our role in the area.

It's proper to question the way in which we use our forces in the Middle East. It's important to analyze the impact of putting U.S. flags on Kuwaiti vessels.

But should there be a U.S. presence in the Persian Gulf?

Absolutely.

Between 1971 and 1979, the United States poured billions of dollars' worth of economic and military aid into Iran in exchange for secure oil exports to the West. …