In This Review

The Persian Gulf and the West: The Dilemmas of Security
The Persian Gulf and the West: The Dilemmas of Security
By Charles A. Kupchan
Allen & Unwin, 1987, 254 pp

Starting from World War II and coming down to the current naval encounters, this study provides a good general introduction to the security problems of the Gulf. Old Middle East hands may well be bored with the lengthy recitation of the ups and downs of U.S. policy over four decades, but the book becomes more interesting when one comes to the so-called Carter Doctrine and the rapid deployment force after the momentous events of 1979 in Iran and Afghanistan. The author clearly recognizes and discusses the main dilemmas that have plagued all U.S. administrations: how to meet large and varied strategic requirements with limited military capabilities; how to fit strategy into the unpredictable political realities of the Middle East; and how to organize common Western policies in defense of common Western interests. Unfortunately, even intelligent discussion does not resolve these dilemmas.