Van Hollen, Christopher
June 1981
Foreign Affairs;Summer81, Vol. 59 Issue 5, p1064
This articles assesses the policies behind the approach of the administration of U.S. President Ronald Reagan towards the Persian Gulf region. Eager to demonstrate U.S. resolve and assertiveness, the Administration has embarked on a geostrategic East-West military strategy that compounds the errors of the Carter/Brzezinski White House and revives memories of some of John Foster Dulles' more ill-conceived ventures. The Reagan approach is based on several assumptions which are first, the Soviet Union is the primary threat to a region which supplies about 35 percent of the oil consumed in the free world economy. Second, in order to concentrate on thwarting Moscow's expansionism, the U.S. government should deemphasize efforts to resolve the Arab-Israeli dispute. Third, Soviet power can best be contained militarily by putting more money and muscle into the Rapid Deployment Force (RDF) and encouraging a European contribution, even if indirect, to the RDF. Fourth, a consensus of strategic concerns should be developed among the countries stretching from Pakistan westward through Saudi Arabia to Egypt and Turkey, and including Israel. And lastly, if a strategic entity can be created among these countries, some of the regional states may be persuaded to accept U.S. ground forces.


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