July 1975

July 1975
53, 4


John C. Campbell

From history, climate, the cultivation of the olive and other aspects of a common civilization, the Mediterranean region has a certain unity. One can see it on the map. Yet it is too much a part of Europe, too much a part of the larger strategic concerns of non-Mediterranean powers, too diverse in the nations which encircle its waters, to constitute a subject of specifically regional politics, economics or security. A Tunisian foreign minister may call plaintively for a Mediterranean freed from the presence of superpower navies. A Soviet leader may float a suggestion for its denuclearization. A Yugoslav may propose a system of Mediterranean security to complete the work of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. A president of France may speak of a community stemming from his nation's historic and cultural ties with nations on both sides of the inland sea. Such proposals have had an occasional echo. But the Mediterranean area is not ready for a big international conference on security, for a negotiated set of principles of coexistence, or for the withdrawal of American and Soviet naval forces. Everyone sees a crisis there, but none agree on its description and no regional solution, no regional procedure for getting a solution, is at hand.

Thomas O. Enders

From 1947 to 1973 the shift of power is exponential. In 1947 the United States ceased to be a net exporter of oil; the basing point for oil prices moved from the Gulf of Mexico to the Persian Gulf, and with it the underlying leverage. Although the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was formed in 1960, its membership was so disparate that at first it did little to exploit the shift. With prices low, U.S. dependence on imported energy grew to 14 percent of energy consumption in 1972. Europe's dependence on energy imports grew from 33 percent in 1960 to 65 percent in 1972; Japan's from 43 to 90 percent in the same period. By the late 1960s OPEC members were acting more masterfully to turn the increased dependence to advantage; prices began to move up. The 1973 October War revealed OPEC's full power.

Alastair Buchan

Sir Lewis Namier, the great British historian of a generation ago, used to warn his students of the danger of trying "to argue with history": of abstracting, that is, one event or sequence of events in a historical epoch in an effort to determine how world politics would have been different if it had not occurred; the past is a seamless web, he used to argue, of interrelated developments whose individual strands cannot be unraveled and examined separately. One does not have to be a historical determinist to accept the soundness of this view, and a great deal of the "oh, if only" historiography that now surrounds the American involvement in Indochina seems to me to be based on fallacious abstractions of parts of the national decision-making process at isolated points in time over the past quarter-century. The blow to American idealism which the protracted brutalities of the involvement occasioned, the damage which military and political failure in Vietnam may have done to American influence, are only aspects of a larger process of change; and the new structure of power relations in the world would not, in my view, be radically different if the United States had never become seriously involved in Indochina, or even if it had been able to impose a peace settlement upon the area between 1964 and 1973. Much of the American literature of mea culpa is an aspect of what Dennis Brogan first called "the illusion of American omnipotence," the belief that prevailed for nearly a generation, not only that American policy was all-determinant in molding the map of the world, but that the United States had a greater degree of choice at any point in time than was in reality the case.

Earl C. Ravenal

As the last outposts crumbled in March and April, the Administration castigated Congress for abandoning Vietnam, labeled certain Americans "isolationists," and predicted the worst consequences from the American failure to stave off the collapse. Other Americans-hopeful politicians, wishful editorialists-angrily, urgently, denied the charges, rejected the epithets, and argued that Vietnam had little to do with the American position in the rest of the world; indeed, release from Vietnam might well benefit the American position elsewhere.

Michel Tatu

It is almost a mockery to preach European unity in 1975. During recent months, the uncertainty about whether Great Britain will remain in the Common Market and about its future policy regarding Europe has added yet another spot to an already stained canvas. The reality is, in fact, still grimmer. For the last decade, the building of a united Europe has hung fire and the great hopes of the 1960s have evaporated. It is quite miraculous that the Community has not broken up under mounting difficulties and general disillusionment. Why this setback?

David Fromkin

A history of terrorism from the Middle Ages onward, with analysis of terrorist strategies -- and how governments can defeat them.


This article appears in the Foreign Affairs eBook, "The U.S. vs. al Qaeda: A History of the War on Terror."

Michael J. Moravcsik and John M. Ziman

With European industrial civilization comes European science. It is a package deal. The question whether a culture thus superseded or repressed had its own form of science has become purely academic: the process of economic growth and social development is entirely predicated on the "rational materialism" of post-Renaissance Europe and its North American colonies. This fact may well be deplored, but can scarcely be denied. The very word technology, denoting a practical technique that has been studied and transformed in the light of scientific rationality, betrays our values and intentions as it displaces the crafts from town and village, from workshop and field, throughout the world.

Ali A. Mazrui

Black Africa and the Arab world have been linked by a fluctuating pattern of economic and cultural connections for at least 12 centuries. In the secular field the Arabs have up to this time played two major roles in black Africa: first as accomplices in African enslavement, and then in the twentieth century as allies in African liberation. In the past several years they have built this alliance into a comprehensive political partnership, aimed at maintaining a solid front, particularly with regard to the Middle East and Southern Africa. The critical question for the future is whether the Arabs will also become partners in African development.

Lincoln P. Bloomfield

Until a year or two ago we were entitled to believe that the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) could successfully hold the line at five nuclear weapons powers, if only a few holdout countries would sign or ratify it. Two events have thrown into serious doubt the ability of present policies to stem the further proliferation of nuclear weapon capabilities among additional nations.

William O. Doub and Joseph M. Dukert

Between now and the end of this century there is no realistic hope of meeting world energy needs without a substantial increase in the use of nuclear energy; commercial nuclear reactors are bound to multiply three- or four-fold even over the next 10 to 15 years. Commercial nuclear materials must be safeguarded against diversion or misuse by nations or individuals. At the same time, nuclear reactor designs and associated fuel cycle facilities now in common use present both real and public-perception problems as to their safe operation and the safe storage of the radioactive wastes they generate.

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