The American Search for Mideast Peace

By Dan Tschirgi | Go to book overview

2
DIFFUSION OF AN OBJECTIVE: 1969-1976

. . . somewhere along the line the question of what causes a Soviet move becomes irrelevant; American policy must deal with its consequences, not with its causes.

Henry Kissinger

The Johnson administration failed to make substantial progress toward resolving the Arab-Israeli quarrel. However, it left office with four significant accomplishments in the search for peace to its credit. First, the administration had clearly established that Washington's goal was to see the conflict terminated within the confines of the existing regional state system through an exchange of territory and political concessions that would not reflect "the weight of conquest." Second, it had recognized that its chosen policy of keeping the regional power balance inclined in Israel's favor might promote an open-ended arms race that could further a U.S. decline, and a corresponding Soviet rise, in the Arab world. Third, the administration had absorbed the uncomfortable lesson that in the context of Superpower rivalry in the Middle East, the United States lacked an effective means of pressuring Israel into even preliminary indirect substantive negotiations with the Arabs. Finally, the administration had concluded that this dangerous dynamic might be reversed by exploring possibilities for a Middle East settlement jointly with the Soviet Union.

In the years that followed -- the years of the Nixon and Ford presidencies -- the concept of peace developed during Johnson's tenure was not formally abandoned. Nonetheless, it gradually lost its sharpness. By the end of 1976 many Americans -- as well as others -- questioned whether

-52-

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The American Search for Mideast Peace
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • 1 - MAKING OF AN OBJECTIVE 1
  • 2 - DIFFUSION OF AN OBJECTIVE: 1969-1976 52
  • 3 - REVIVAL OF AN OBJECTIVE: JIMMY CARTER, 1977-1981 98
  • 4 - ABANDONMENT OF AN OBJECTIVE: RONALD REAGAN, 1981-1988 144
  • 5 - CONCLUSION: PRELUDE TO REQUIEM? 212
  • POSTSCRIPT: PRELUDE TO PEACE? 240
  • Appendix A 243
  • Notes 253
  • SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY 283
  • Index 287
  • About the Author *
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