In May 1991 President Bush announced a set of proposals to ban weapons of mass destruction and limit trade in conventional arms. The Bush initiative included a plan for multilateral restraint of conventional arms transfers to the Middle East. On the political side of the arms transfer equation, wide and increasing diversity of supply from both advanced and developing countries has degraded the use of arms transfers--and their denial-as instruments of foreign policy. The Gulf War has provided support for the view that the United States and its allies must maintain a collective capacity to respond to large-scale military crises in distant lands. Between August 2, 1990 and November 1, 1991 total worldwide arms sales to the Middle East reached approximately $14.8 billion, of which about $12.8 billion were sales by the United States. The buildup of Iraqi armaments and the most recent Gulf War focused sustained attention on arms transfers to the region.