Can Putin Survive?
The Lessons of the Soviet Collapse
IF THE United States is to pursue its objectives successfully in the Middle East it must understand that the decisive social and political force at work there is Arab nationalism, and must come to terms with it; and it must also accept realistically the fact that the Soviet Union now plays an important rôle in Arab affairs.
The strategic importance of the Middle East as a route to Asia and as an area of contention between Russia and Western Europe is not new. The Eastern Question preoccupied the Powers throughout the nineteenth century. Today, with the protagonists infinitely more powerful, the competition continues; and to the stakes have been added three-quarters of the world's proven oil reserves. What may be even more significant is that rival philosophies and ways of life are competing in the Middle East also, and the outcome there will have a profound influence on the still uncommitted peoples of Africa and Asia.
A necessary first step in formulating an American policy for the Middle East is to identify the basic American objectives there. In doing so, a clear distinction should be made between objectives and the means to achieve them and between essential objectives and those that are merely desirable. The importance of this is emphasized by Western experience in recent years. A concept of "vital interests" has always underlain British policy: for example, the use or usufruct of such facilities as the Suez Canal and the refinery at Abadan were regarded as of vital importance. But in practice the vital interest itself has often been understood to include the ownership, control or even military occupation thought necessary to secure it. Particular means have tended to become ends, and rigid adherence to them has in the long run often jeopardized rather than safeguarded the interest itself. Thus, we have seen that the means which Britain used to assure navigation in the Suez Canal and a continuing flow of petroleum to Europe worked against those vital interests.
In dealing with the Middle East, the United States has not been embarrassed by imperial legacies and has been free to utilize less stereotyped methods in pursuing its objectives. Initially at least, its programs of technical and economic assistance were an imaginative new departure; even so, it has sometimes confused ends and means. Treaties, pacts and aid agreements have seemed almost to become ends in themselves, to be sought even to the point of damaging the relationships they were designed to support. The Eisenhower Doctrine is a recent example. It was presented in a way ("Stand up and be counted; we will make it worth your while") which made it seem to confirm Radio Moscow's daily portrayal of it as nefarious "new imperialism." As a result, fearing popular outcry, no Arab government except that of Lebanon--a small, half-Christian state with a Western orientation--dared to endorse it, and the over-all position of the United States in the Middle East was weakened rather than strengthened.
Even more noticeable is the American tendency to frame policy with reference to the maximum which it would be desirable to achieve instead of the minimum which is essential. One result is that every shortfall from the maximum objective is interpreted as a failure or defeat. The result may then be "panic" reactions and hasty improvisations.
The Syrian crisis of last fall is a case in point. The Soviet agreement of August 6 to provide massive aid for Syrian economic development and Syria's appointment of a pro-Soviet chief-of-staff on August 15 were interpreted as serious defeats for United States policy. Washington was prompted to take a series of actions: the expulsion of the Syrian Ambassador in retaliation for Syria's expulsion of three American Embassy officials for allegedly plotting a coup; the flying trip (beginning August 22) of Deputy Under Secretary of State Henderson, during which he avoided contact with Syrian and Egyptian leaders; the airlift of arms to Jordan (announced September 5) and stepped up arms shipments to Lebanon, Iraq and Saudi Arabia; Sixth Fleet manœuvres off the Syrian coast; and Secretary Dulles' statement (September 19) in the United Nations General Assembly, following the concentration of Turkish troops (with American officers present) along the Syrian frontier. Mr. Dulles' remark that "Turkey now faces growing military danger from the major build-up of Soviet arms in Syria" was not taken by Middle Easterners at face value. The Syrian army was small (about 50,000 men), newly-equipped, lacking in battle experience and in large part tied down on the Israeli frontier, whereas the Turkish army was the largest field force in NATO (half a million men), armed and in part trained by the United States for a decade, and presumably able to deploy a major part of its force on the Syrian frontier. It may be that American actions were designed not only to reassure the Turks but to warn Soviet Russia; but it is open to question whether they were the best means, especially since they seemed to lend substance to Russian and Syrian charges that the United States was planning a coup in Syria. When no coup materialized, the Soviet Union with its well-publicized "threat" to use nuclear force gained wide credit as the "protector of Syrian independence" against American "aggression." The United States, criticized both for allegedly planning to interfere in Syria and equally for then backing down, gained only discredit.
It is now clear that the United States was not prepared to insist on the withdrawal of the Soviet aid program for Syria; while this would be desirable, it was not in fact a vital requirement of American policy. Had policy with respect to the Syrian-Russian aid agreement been formulated with this fact in mind, the United States would have been prepared in advance to accept it and might have avoided both the "defeat" and the consequences of haste.
Greater flexibility is another advantage that might be derived from a policy based on essential minimums instead of desirable maximums. The confidence and respect which the United States once enjoyed in the Middle East has tempted it to adopt a policy of trying to "hang on" to every advantage, to maintain the status quo intact. This has made American policy rigid. Moreover, it is self-defeating to oppose change in an area where reform is a popular ideal and rapid and fundamental change is inescapable. If policy objectives were set in minimum terms, on the other hand, there would be scope for initiative in promoting desirable change and even for profiting from the initiative of others. For instance, by endorsing the objective of Syrian economic development set out in the Soviet aid agreement, and by establishing a high level of expectation against which Syrians could measure the actual performance, the United States might have benefited from the Soviet initiative--which in any case it could not prevent.
Objectives should be evaluated and reëvaluated constantly. They need not be assumed necessarily to include any particular treaty, pact or aid relationship, or the use of particular bases, or freedom of navigation in the Suez Canal, or even continuing American participation in Middle Eastern oil activities. At the present time, the primary American objectives would seem to be maintenance of a sufficient degree of peace in the area to prevent events which might lead to a nuclear war and the continuance of a sufficient flow of oil to maintain the European economy. Europe now depends upon Middle Eastern oil for 80 percent of its needs and as those needs double or triple in the coming decade the Middle East will probably have to supply most or all of the increment. In view of this, an essential American policy would seem to be one which accommodated itself to political developments in the area--even seemingly undesirable ones, e.g. a general drift toward neutralism--so long as they permitted the steady flow of oil to its European markets.
None of this is to say that desirable secondary objectives ought to be abandoned, merely that these should be sought only to the extent, and only in such ways, that the essentials are not jeopardized. Continued American and Western participation in Middle Eastern oil operations, for example, is surely desirable and should be supported; but not to the point of endangering the economy of Europe.
When we measure the current situation in the Middle East in terms of our essential objectives, we find that the United States is fairly well off. Our assets include: a 56-percent share in Middle Eastern oil production; a certain residue of Arab sentiment for the America of Washington, Lincoln, Wilson and Roosevelt; use of the airfield at Dhahran; the military association with Iraq through the Baghdad Pact; and freedom to use the Suez Canal. Accordingly, there is no current need for "crash programs." There is time in which to plan. And there exists a considerable margin of negotiable assets, as it were--interests and positions of advantage which might be relinquished, should need arise, to forestall a threat to the essential objectives. This situation might be used to add flexibility to United States policy. For example, after it was understood that the United States would not insist on retaining rights to the Dhahran airfield in the face of a Saudi refusal, Soviet charges of "imperialist exploitation" lost much of their force on this issue. The base is not therefore a serious political liability for the Saudi Arabian government; meanwhile, the United States retains the use of it.
In the long run, foreign policy in a given area cannot be successful unless it takes account of the dominant desires and fears of the people who live there. The necessary second step in formulating an American policy for the Middle East, then, is to ascertain these attitudes. Here the United States encounters great difficulty, however, because the Middle East presents a picture of internal squabbling, dynastic rivalry, tribal and class feuding, religious and sectarian intolerance, violence and reprisal --in general, that is, disunity, disagreement and dissent. Is there in the Middle East any significant body of shared views and feelings?
The turmoil there results from the profound and accelerating social revolution which is taking place as a result of contact with the West--with Western goods and machines, economic and military techniques, political and social institutions, and above all cultural values. This social transformation has many dimensions. Separate nation states have been created from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire, and these have taken on at least the outward forms of their Western counterparts. Though the results have satisfied few, the idea that government represents and should serve the people has definitely taken hold. Subsistence farming and cottage industry are in process of being replaced by large-scale cash-crop agriculture, increasingly mechanized, and the beginnings of industrialization. Rapid urbanization, the growth of a middle class and a sharp rise of population resulting from the introduction of modern medicine and public health measures are among the social aspects of the revolution. A cultural aspect is the gradual replacement of the static, tradition-bound assumptions of the Islamic past by those of the secular, progressive West.
These are obvious aspects of the social revolution in the Middle East. Perhaps less obviously, the psychological effect has been to rob increasingly large numbers of people of their sense of security and to diminish their self-respect by dissolving the old social mosaic in which each man and each group had a recognized place and function and by revealing the seeming a-to-z inferiority of their traditional pattern of life in comparison to the new Western model. This revelation has been driven home by the use of military force to support Western political domination, and it has been emphasized by the Western habit of pinning such labels on them as "backward" and "underdeveloped." They have felt a compelling need, in consequence, for a new allegiance, a new ordering of society adequate to deal with internal insecurity and external threat. The response, at once creative and imitative, is nationalism.
Nationalism is not, of course, a recent development in the Middle East, but for each succeeding generation it has acquired a new depth of meaning. Fifty years ago it involved little more than the desire for independence. To this was then added an Arab desire for unity, and for the power and prestige necessary to secure it. There gradually came into existence, too, a craving for social justice, economic development, industrialization and internal reforms. Most recently we have seen the growth of a desire among Arabs not only to be independent and united but to remain outside the great spheres of power conflict. The nationalists of this present generation who are drawn mainly from the urban educated and semi-educated middle classes--the same classes, that is, which are most affected by the impact of the West--are the creative minority. With the swift spread of education and the multiplication of mass communications media, they are increasing rapidly in numbers and influence. They look with critical westernized eyes at their surroundings and are bitterly aware of disunity, weakness, corruption, injustice, backwardness, poverty and ignorance--all the stigmata of inferiority. They can see only one way out: to reform and reconstruct their society in the pattern of modern industrialized respectability.
Nationalism in the Middle East is thus, basically, a constructive force. This remains true in spite of its well-publicized destructive aspects. Street demonstrations, propaganda invective and the nationalization of foreign enterprises are the negative and violent expressions of too-long-thwarted positive aspirations. Much as we may deplore these activities, our own political traditions forbid us to say that force is never a patriotic last resort. Even granting that the outbreaks of nationalist violence have been to some extent habit-forming, and that they have occurred in situations in which we would judge them inappropriate, they evidence not so much the absence of constructive objectives as the strength of the frustrated feelings behind them. The distinction sometimes made between nationalists who are "constructive" and those who are "destructive" reflects a difference in their methods more than a difference in their ultimate objectives. It is apparent that when moderation fails in the Arab world, extremism takes over, and that whether or not this degeneration takes place depends in no small degree on policies followed by the West.
What, specifically, do the Arab nationalists stand for? Above all, they want to secure and maintain Arab unity and independence. Internally, they want to coalesce all the divergent social groups from peasant to pasha into a citizenry loyal to the nation; externally they want to merge the individual Arab states into a larger Arab union. We have seen a start made toward this objective in recent months. They want military strength as a bulwark for their own programs, as a means of defense against external threats, and--not least--for reasons of prestige. In foreign policy, they would like to be neutral, to avoid entanglements, and to profit from Soviet-American competition in order to devote their undivided energies to the advancement of their own affairs. They want honest and impartial government. And ultimately, they want to secure the full schedule of rights, privileges and protections promised by the Western democratic ideal.
The nationalists want economic development not only to build up national power but to employ and feed surplus population and to raise standards of living. In the social field, they want to develop universal free education from kindergarten through college in order to create a responsible citizenry and to train sufficient officials, technicians and professionals for the growing needs of their society. With equal urgency they want nation-wide programs of medical care. In the name of social justice they stand for the elimination of the "feudal" system of land tenure and for the fair treatment of labor.
The nationalists vary in political color from black to red, but they all serve or claim to serve the same over-all objectives. On the extreme of religious reaction, the Moslem Brothers cite the assumed "original" principles of Islam and call for a reconstruction of society on that basis. But in going back to early Islam as their source, they know in advance what it is they are looking for and occasionally they may be said to look with a formative eye; as a result we are told that independence, economic development and social justice are old Islamic principles deriving from the Quran and the Tradition of the Prophet. These are principles to which the Communists on the other extreme must also cater, however insincerely, if they are to gain a following. For all political parties and factions, the difference does not lie in what is to be sought but how and by whom.
By all odds the man most widely regarded as a successful seeker of these ends is President Nasser of Egypt. In the West he has often been represented as a tinpot dictator, a Middle Eastern Hitler, a breaker of treaties, an oppressor of minorities and a saboteur of international commerce. There is a certain amount of truth as well as exaggeration in these charges. But for Arabs, his shortcomings are nothing compared with the stature he has acquired. As the man who forced "imperialist" Britain out of the Canal Zone, who successfully defied the West with his Czech arms deal, who topped Secretary Dulles' insulting withdrawal of the High Dam offer with a resounding slap at Britain and France and their Suez Canal Company, who triumphantly survived the tripartite aggression late in 1956, Nasser has become in the eyes of most Arabs a modern Saladin. More than any other man, in a favorite phrase, he has "restored Arab independence and dignity."
To them, in addition, Nasser represents honesty in government, devotion to economic development (of which the High Dam was the major symbol), and the determination to educate and unify, to provide jobs, social security and a rising standard of living for the masses. He led the way to land reform and, after a decade of talk by others, implemented the dream of Arab union. Some Arab nationalists have private reservations about Nasser for his gross abuse of press and radio, his imprisonments and oppressions, his discrimination against foreign private enterprise, his un-neutral involvement with the U.S.S.R., and the unimpressive showing of his armed forces against Israel. But most will hear no evil of him and those who do can offer no better replacement. Nasser remains the towering hero of Arab nationalism.
It cannot be stated too strongly that nationalism is the decisive political and social force at work in the Arab Middle East, and that this remains true in spite of the many evidences of discord and division. The nationalists may be a long time in realizing their objectives and, despite the extraordinary progress of the past few years, they may never realize them all. But a fundamental lesson of modern Middle Eastern history is that foreign--or domestic--attempts to secure or to preserve special privileges and interests in opposition to the ground-swell of nationalism lead ultimately to failure. Britain failed in Egypt, Palestine and Jordan (who can tell what five years will bring in Iraq?), and France in Syria, Lebanon and North Africa. In the long run, if American policy in the Middle East is not also to fail, it must not seem to oppose and obstruct the constructive purposes of Arab nationalism.
But this is to state the situation in negative terms. Simply to render the policy of the United States harmless in Arab eyes would not automatically gain it favor. To be effective, American policy must have nationalist support and this can be won by a clear and steady endorsement of their own constructive purposes. Thus, the third step in formulating an American Middle Eastern policy is to jettison the sterile approach based mainly on rigid opposition to the Soviet Union and to work out a new and more positive approach alive to the desires and needs of the Middle Easterners themselves.
The minimum American objectives in the Middle East as stated earlier in this article do not inherently conflict with the nationalist desires for independence, unity, neutrality, economic development and social reform. Indeed, with the moral and material backing of the United States, Arab progress toward achieving these things could also become progress toward securing American objectives. Moreover, the present nationalist hostility toward the whole range of other American interests in the Middle East would tend to fade away.
Many of the constructive aspirations of Arab nationalism are expressed in phrases that come from the lexicon of Western and particularly American experience: "all men are created equal," "toward a more perfect union," "avoid foreign entanglements." These slogans ring just as true to Arab nationalists as they did to our ancestors or as they do to us. The fact that they are being used against us is an indication that the United States seems no longer to represent these ideals in its dealing with the Arabs. Meanwhile, the Soviet Union, adopting the familiar language of liberal democracy without embarrassment and in all seeming sincerity, has been able during the past two or three years to represent itself as the unselfish champion of Arab nationalist aspirations. The result has been a glacial eastward shift of Arab opinion.
While the Russians have been adopting our mottoes--and finding them keys of success--we have often acted in ways which have cut right to the nerve of nationalist feeling. A mainspring of Arab nationalism is the terrible feeling of inferiority, and this feeling the United States has helped to compound.
The United States made its first major intervention in Middle Eastern affairs a decade ago when it lent wholehearted financial, diplomatic and moral support to the establishment of Israel. From an Arab point of view, this was a denial of the principles which the United States had proclaimed for "all men." Did the United States see no inequality, no injustice, no unwisdom, they ask, in supporting the forcible conversion of what to them was plainly an Arab land into a Jewish state or in accepting the permanent displacement of a million Arabs from their homes and property to make room for an equal number of people whom Europe had driven forth? Since this American action, a half-billion dollars of official United States assistance has been given to Israel, amounting to two or three times the sums contributed to all the Arab countries combined, and even private American gifts have been given a quasi-official nature by being made tax exempt. In these and other ways the Arabs have found goading evidence of their own inadequacy, lack of standing in our eyes, and inferiority. The result, in spite of the many millions of dollars in various forms of aid which we have given the Arabs, has been to lend great impetus to the negative features of Arab nationalism and to render it hostile to America.
Although the reservoir of Arab good will toward America began to drain away a decade ago, the rise of the Soviet Union in Arab esteem began following the Czech arms deal with Egypt; thus it is less than three years old. Initially, the Soviet Union had shared our attitude toward Israel-Arab relations. Indeed, the survival of Israel was due in no small degree to the arms supplied from Russian-dominated Czechoslovakia. (The Arabs bitterly remark that there was no Western uproar about that Czech arms deal.) The Czech arms deal with Egypt in the summer of 1955 led to a radical change in the positions of the Soviet Union and the United States. Previously, the United States had promised arms to Egypt contingent upon conclusion of an Anglo-Egyptian agreement about British troops in the Canal Zone. This agreement was reached in the summer of 1954. Then in early February 1955 came the first big Israeli military attack against Egyptian armed forces in the Gaza Strip. Arms became an urgent necessity for Nasser if he was to retain the loyalty of his Free Officers and the army upon whom his control of Egypt rested. The American Government maintained that under existing legislation it could provide arms only for cash in dollars (which Egypt lacked) or accompanied by a U.S. military mission, which Egyptian nationalism could not tolerate. Turning to the Soviet bloc, Nasser secured weapons in adequate amounts on very reasonable terms, payable in cotton, of which Egypt then had an unsold surplus.
The resulting surge of alarm in the West and the immediate arrival of Assistant Secretary of State Allen in Cairo, reportedly with a new arms offer, showed Egyptians the key to American policy in the Middle East: fear of the Soviet Union. The controlled Egyptian press accordingly printed a story asserting that the Soviets had offered to help build the High Dam, the huge $1.2 billion project that symbolized Egypt's drive for economic development and its major hope for winning the race against Malthusian starvation. The United States, joined by Britain and later by the World Bank, promptly made a counter-offer as a gesture of humanitarian generosity. However, the Soviet offer was an Egyptian invention; no real offer materialized. The Russians did, however, promise large-scale assistance for Egyptian industrial development (which resulted in a $175,000,000 aid agreement late in 1957). In May and June of 1956, Nasser tried to nail down the Western offer; but the United States, having discovered the Russian lack of interest, no longer felt any urgency about the High Dam. Nasser seemed to be right about our motivations, but had overplayed his hand. When Ambassador Hussein went to Washington to "put American good faith to the test," the offer was withdrawn, and in such a way as to be an inescapable insult to Nasser. It was stated that because of the arms purchases, the Egyptian economy would be unequal to the task of building the Dam. The inference was that the United States was unwilling to associate itself with a losing proposition, starving peasants or no.
Thus challenged, Nasser had to reply. His counter-stroke at the end of July was to nationalize the Suez Canal Company. During the tense four-month deadlock that followed, and despite the resignation (on September 15) of 100 of the 170 Canal pilots, Egypt proudly kept the Canal in operation, and the Soviet Union backed it. The United States tried to restrain Britain and France and asserted the principle of internationalization, or joint control by the user nations ("collective colonialism," according to the Egyptians), on the grounds--somewhat surprising for the United States--that control of a vital international waterway by one country imperiled free navigation. The Arabs were quick to point out not only the parallel to Panama but the similar issue that had arisen in 1946 when Russia wanted to "internationalize" the Turkish Straits and the United States had stoutly maintained the principle of one-nation control.
The inference drawn by the Arabs from these episodes was that an American promise about arms or a dam was not necessarily a promise when it was made to an Arab; that failure to secure arms from the United States did not give Arabs a right to try elsewhere; that in American eyes the only people who counted in the Middle East (apart from the Israelis) were the Russians; that the United States had no genuine interest in Arab economic development as such; and that the Arabs were considered incompetent to run their own economy or even their own canal. In short, the Arabs concluded that Americans did not look on them as being on the same level as other peoples or nations. By contrast, the actions of the Soviet Union seemed to shine with a pure white light.
For a brief period, the firm stand of President Eisenhower against the Anglo-French-Israeli invasion of Egypt seemed to obliterate the record of the preceding months and to regain much of the ground lost by the United States. Contrary to what the Arabs had expected, the United States did not back its major European allies and its Middle Eastern protégé. President Eisenhower's action and his speech about "one law" for all reopened doors throughout the Arab world. But the opportunity thus gained for a fresh start in the Middle East was soon dissipated. Various acts, some of them comparatively petty, seemed to give the lie to the President's stand. For example, when the Egyptians requested release of $14,000 of their funds (the United States had frozen $40,000,000 of their funds when the Egyptians nationalized the Suez Canal Company) in order to purchase medicines for the victims of the Port Said invasion, they were refused. This occurred at a time when dramatic efforts were being made in the West to aid the refugees from Hungary, and the Arabs were quick to draw the comparison. Egypt's attempt to purchase surplus American wheat, when its own reserves were almost exhausted, was similarly turned down. The medicines and the wheat were supplied by the Soviet Union. Then the United States failed to renew the CARE program through which nearly 3,000,000 Egyptian children were receiving school lunches "as a gift from the children of America." Such actions as these made it easy for many Arabs to believe that it was not through our efforts but rather through the much-publicized Soviet "threat" to rocket bomb London and Paris that the Anglo-French invasion had been stopped. It was even suggested that the motivation for the American position had been a desire to get control of the Canal. In 1951, they recalled, in a somewhat parallel situation, the United States had discouraged impending British military action against Iran to recover the nationalized Anglo-Iranian Oil Company refinery at Abadan, and within three years American companies held a 40 percent share in Iranian oil. They knew little or nothing of just how that had come about; the result spoke sufficiently for itself.
Today Arab nationalists have come to see the United States as a major foe. Into the breaches which we either have made or have not known how to prevent, the Soviet Union has been invited. For capital, technical assistance, support and protection, Arabs are increasingly turning toward the Soviet Union. In the realm of ideas, also, this is increasingly the case. Our basic political assumptions are often seen in the harsh light of what Arabs regard as our non-performance, our institutions in the pale, reflected light of Mandate and Protectorate copies which often hindered rather than promoted the social well-being of the peoples concerned. In contrast, the Soviet ideas are new, untried, less complicated and, to many Asians, exciting; Soviet policies seem remarkably flexible and favorably-disposed; and the Soviet economy has so far seemed both able and willing to help.
We cannot and should not try to prevent the Arabs from profiting from the help of the Soviet Union. We should recognize the fact that the Soviet Union plays a part in the affairs of the Middle East and that, from an Arab point of view, Soviet offers of economic, technical and military assistance are no less legitimate than similar American offers. Instead of opposing Soviet aid for Arab economic development, and thereby seeming to oppose the development itself, American policy ought to encourage the Arabs to get all they can while urging a proper watchfulness and the setting of high standards of performance. This would range us on the side of those things which Arabs, like most Asians and Africans, demand of the future; it would also reduce the pressure on us to bid against the Soviet Union in a Nasser's game of "competitive exploitation."
It will be objected that backing the "constructive" objectives of Arab nationalists would mean, ultimately, that Israel would be "driven into the sea." But in fact by making clear its intent to maintain peace in the area to the point of using force against aggression, the United States would stand as a bulwark for a peaceful Israel no less than for any other peaceful state in the Middle East. This would be acceptable to Arab nationalists. The key is equal treatment, fairness, one law. Arabs will accept no less; offers of more they will not respect. Once assured on these points, their feeling about Israel and the Palestine refugees--now symbols of Western unfairness and lack of regard for Arabs --would lose much of their vengeful force. Indeed, this was a temporary result of our stand at Suez.
Lastly, we must realize that although our diplomatic contacts are with governments and states, these for historical reasons are rather different in the Middle East than in Europe. America ought to avoid excessive identification with any particular leader, party or social class except as he or it represents the positive aspirations of the population. In this, the Soviet Union has been far more astute than we, as, for example, in its willingness to work with Nasser although the latter has banned the Communist Party in Egypt. The Soviet Union has never suggested that Nasser is ideologically in accord with it, whereas we often seem to suggest that this is true of leaders who are equally far from our basic tenets. By maintaining a greater flexibility we can move with the changes of public opinion: we can recognize and even bless such moves as those now in train toward pan-Arab union. Failure of that dream to materialize because of apparent American opposition would leave the Arabs more hostile than ever and all the more dependent on the Soviet Union. This would diminish the likelihood that we could ever reach and maintain our basic objectives in the Middle East.