The Middle East Problem in the 1980s

The Middle East Problem in the 1980s

The Middle East Problem in the 1980s

The Middle East Problem in the 1980s

Excerpt

More globally critical issues -- and issues important to the position of the United States in the world -- come together in the Middle East in the early 1980s than in any other part of the developing world. Judgments of the abilities of the United States to function as a world power in the 1990s will be shaped heavily by the way we handle those issues in the Middle East in the 1980s. Apart from the independent development of U.S. and Soviet military capabilities and barring a significant realignment of European governments, this volatile area could well be the critical one in shaping the global balance of power in the 1990s.

In a rapidly changing world, smaller nations will have a growing influence on the course of events. The new relationships that evolve between the developing nations and the major powers will be a significant factor in forming the international order that gradually succeeds the system dominated by the superpowers, which we have known since World War II. Old ideas about the way American power can be exercised will not be adequate in the future. Our effectiveness in developing new ways of exercising our influence in that world will be tested as severely in the Middle East as in any other area of the nonaligned world.

Issues and Priorities . I make the foregoing statement in keen awareness that the United States has interests that are important to our strength and security in each region of the world. It assumes that our ability to defend those interests and our own security against Soviet aggression or the expansion of Soviet influence is vital to our nation's future. It acknowledges that our security is also integrally rooted in our relations with our allies. It accepts that, in the long term, our future is interwoven with the future of all who inhabit this globe.

That statement is made to focus discussion on our national priorities in framing U.S. foreign policy in the 1980s. It is made to pose the question, What rank in the scale of national interests should we assign to the active involvement of our government in pursuing our interests in the Middle East? It is made with my own response to that question in mind -- that the Middle East may well dominate the world stage for Americans in the 1980s because of repeated shocks to our worldwide interests, the potential for . . .

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