United States Policy in the Middle East

Constraints and Choices

by William B. Quandt

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An examination of past policy, the nature of present constraints on the policymaker, and prospects for improving U.S. policies in the Middle East in the 1970s. In addition to choices available to the United States in the Arab-Israeli zone, policies are discussed for dealing with problems in the inter-Arab context, in North Africa, in the Northern Tier, and in the Persian-Arabian Gulf. The dilemma for today's policymaker: how can the United States exert some influence in each of these areas without becoming so deeply involved that negative effects are produced? There are no easy answers. However, a clearer understanding of past policies may help to improve those of the future. A misunderstanding of regional political forces and a simplistic adherence to inappropriate lessons of the past were primarily responsible for short-sighted policies that led to deterioration of relations with the Arab world.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Research memorandum series. The Research Memorandum was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1973 that represented working papers meant to report current results of RAND research to appropriate audiences.

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