Nixon's Second Term: Policy Prospects in the Middle East
President Nixon is now riding high diplomatically on the successes of his first term: the detente with the communist world marked by his visits to Peking and Moscow, and the Paris agreement to end the war in Southeast Asia. Having won a sweeping victory in the final electoral campaign of his long political career, he is more than ever in a position to think of his remaining acts of state in the context of his eventual place in history. By his own recent testimony, nowhere does this challenge present itself more insistently than in the Middle East, where the basic crisis remains unresolved and, as he has often remarked, the danger is greatest of an eventual deterioration into an American- Soviet conflict. Furthermore, with the energy crisis coming into public attention for the first time and two-thirds of the world's oil reserves concentrated in the Middle East, what had once been a distant and theoretical apprehension that the Arab states might one day develop a major political weapon against the United States and its industrial partners, to compensate for their military weakness against Israel, now looms as a distinct material danger - if not within Mr. Nixon's remaining years in office, then in those of his successor.
Malcolm H. Kerr, who is the author of The Arab Cold War and other works on the Middle East, is Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles.