Ronald J. Young, Missed Opportunities for Peace (Philadelphia: American Friends Service Committee, 1987).

Ron Young’s meticulous account of Reagan administration policy toward the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict is somewhat too generous of Washington’s motives by taking US policymakers at their word. A more appropriate title for this tale would surely be Sabotaging Peace. “Between 1981 and 1986,” Young writes in his introduction, “there were several periods when major Israeli and Arab leaders saw opportunities for peace, appealed for US help, and did not get it.” But the problem was more than missing opportunities, which implies error rather than purpose. Toward the end of his account, Young corrects the nuance when he observes that “the United States not only was failing to help achieve peace, but also was reinforcing trends in Israel and the region as a whole which posed grave dangers for the future of both Arabs and Israelis, and for world peace.” Behind the constant diplomatic chatter about “the peace process,” Washington steadfastly refused to acknowledge even the principle of Palestinian self-determination, never mind recognize the Palestine Liberation Organization. And the Reagan administration consistently rewarded and encouraged the most belligerent and aggressive political forces in Israel, not only with regard to the Palestinians but even on questions like the Taba dispute with Egypt. Young does not address the reasons for this pernicious consistency, but he does provide plenty of evidence that in the Middle East the dog is indeed wagging the tail.

How to cite this article:

Joe Stork "Young, Missed Opportunities for Peace," Middle East Report 152 (May/June 1988).

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