Since the Iranian Revolution, those who have initiated the use of force in the Persian Gulf region have not fared well. The Soviets were unsuccessful in Afghanistan, Iraq failed in its 1980 offensive against Iran, and Iran failed to topple the regime of Saddam Hussein. Contrary to the preferences of each of these parties, it was the United States, according to the author, that enhanced its security. The key to American success was skillful exploitation of its third-party role, reacting to the openings provided by the moves of others in the region. Yetiv believes that the United States now must avoid becoming too directly involved in gulf security and would do best to return to a balance-of-power strategy rather than attempting dual containment of Iran and Iraq. Many of these points are sensible, but they need more development and less theory.