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International security handbook 1984-1985.

Written Fro the non expert, this collection of nine essays, edited by CSIS senior fellows Barry Blechman and Edward Luttwak, provides a lucid account of the year's international political and military events. Each of the contributors confirms the editors' central thesis that the two-superpower order is disintegrating.

The Middle East is a case in point. William Quandt writes that the United States and Soviet Union observed key developments from the sidelines during 1984. Despite American efforts to depict Libya's Muammar Qadhafi as a murderous outlaw, the moderate Moroccan government entered into a federation with Libya. In early 1984, Jordan's King Hussein facilitated American efforts to bring about Arab-Israeli negotiations. But before the year was out, he abruptly withdrew his request for American arms and denounced American policy as excessively pro-Israel. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was no more cooperative. In order to restore Egypt's good name among its Arab neighbors, Mubarak kept a polite distance from U.S. peace talk proposals and cooled relations with Israel.

Moderate and conservative Arab states, meanwhile, remained deeply suspicious of Moscow's close relations with the radical regimes in Syria and Libya. Qadhafi's designs on Sudan and Chad, two nations traditionally under Egyptian protection, have not endeared him to the Mubarak government. Likewise, Jordan and Saudi Arabia are antagonistic toward Syria's President Hafez al-Assad. Thus, the Soviet Union has forfeited credibility with the three most powerful Arab states.

According to Quandt, it is the rising tide of Islamic fundamentalism that has neutralized Moscow and Washington. When the Soviet Union supplies weapons to a fanatic like Qadhafi, mainstream Arab leaders regard this as subversion. On the other hand, it is the growing influence of religious extremists inside their own borders that compels moderate Arab leaders to charge that Washington is biased in favor of Israel.

In addition to the Middle East, the Yearbook surveys Asia, Africa, and Latin America, as well as the NATO and Warsaw Pact alliances. In each region the pattern is the same: smaller nations asserting their independence from the superpowers.
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Author:Flanagin, John M.
Publication:Washington Monthly
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 1, 1985
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