16 Pages

America's Diplomatic Initiative in the Middle East

Prospects and Perils
WithRobert G. Neumann

This chapter looks at the consequences of that thesis for United States Middle-East policy. The Ronald Reagan Administration began to realise that sharp regional conflicts and in particular the unsolved Palestinian problem consigned to the realm of illusion any hope for a "strategic consensus." Among President Reagan's advisers there were sharp differences concerning the manner in which to counter that threat of conflict. Increasingly Reagan's advisers realised that Haig's policies brought the entire Arab world, including the most pro-Western and moderate countries into ever sharper conflict with the US. President Reagan's "territories for peace" formula was unequivocal and Reagan had not been known to waver as had his predecessor, Jimmy Carter. The Arabs in Fez realised clearly that the Reagan formula of "territories for peace" shifted both their own ideas and those of Reagan into a common diplomatic perimeter. Somehow the Reagan Administration remained optimistic that some formula could ensue which would result in actual negotiations.