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Julius Falk

Notes of the Quarter

The Road to Beirut

Washington Takes Off the Glove in the Middle East

(Summer 1958)

From The New International, Vol. XXIV No. 2–3, Spring–Summer 1958, pp. 80–89.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

From Suez 1956 to Lebanon 1958. Just two years! Yet, in that brief period, the United States has run the political gamut from opposition to the British-French-Israeli adventure in Egypt to its own direct military intervention in the Middle East.

It is true that the landing of marines in Lebanon is not exactly the same as the Anglo-French military operations two years ago. Egypt was invaded whereas the Marines were invited in – by a government on its last legs. That does make a difference, we suppose. But it is not one that can make much of an impression on the Arab world. Despite legal and moral distinctions the Suez operation in 1956 and American intervention today have this much in common: both are attempts by foreign powers to impose by force their own military, economic and political ambitions on the Middle East; and both have the broad objective of stemming the tide of militant nationalism that is sweeping the Arab world.

Immediately after the Suez aggression it appeared that the strong moral tone taken in the Eisenhower administration’s repudiation of this imperialist adventure might presage a new effective policy; one that could recoup some of the prestige America lost when, following Nasser’s refusal to submit to Dulles’ clumsy attempt at economic blackmail, the State Department reneged on economic commitments (the Aswan dam) to Egypt.

This new note of moral indignation reached its highest pitch in January 1957 in Dulles’ response to sharp questioning from Democratic Senators who wanted to know why the U.S. appeared to be abandoning its British and French allies. Dulles, replied, in effect, that any hope of a successful Western policy in the Middle East was predicated upon our disassociation from all foreign imperialist overlords in the area. In his words:

Let me also say that if Western Europe were part of this plan [the Eisenhower Doctrine], then I can say to you that it would be absolutely doomed to failure from the beginning, because a plan for the Middle East of which certain of the most interested Western Europe nations are a part will not succeed ...

There was no consideration of that [making a joint declaration with the British and French] because I cannot think of anything which would more surely turn over the area to international communism than for us now to try to go in there hand-in-hand with the British and French.

And, then, the unkindest cut of all:

If I were an American boy who had to fight in the Middle East, I’d rather not have a British soldier on my right hand and a French soldier on my left.

But this stern, anti-imperialist remonstration, which sounded hollow to us at the time, was soon revealed as just part of the game of international diplomacy. The British-French campaign to de-nationalize the Suez Canal was too blatant. And its timing was outrageous, following on the heels of the Hungarian revolution. The Kremlin, unmasked by the Hungarian working class, was now able to camouflage a hideous spectacle by belligerently putting itself forward as the champion of democracy in the Middle East. Thus, the enormous propaganda capital in store for the West was all but lost by an irresponsible exhibition of 19th century imperialism.

Blatancy and poor timing. These were Dulles’ real grievances that brought on his distemper. No new policy or approach toward Arab nationalism followed his Senate testimony. On the contrary, the lapse into anti-imperialist rhetoric soon succumbed to the more genuine antinationalist idiom of the Eisenhower Doctrine for the Middle East. An “improvement” on the Truman Doctrine, the Eisenhower panacea made it clear that the United States would resist by force any Communist aggression in the Middle East. The Monroe Doctrine was stretched to cover the Mediterranean. What constitutes Communist aggression, of course, was left to the discretion of the Eisenhower “team.”

The new presidential Doctrine was little more than an ill-concealed threat to the Arab nationalist movement that its neutralist orientation, its reluctance to place itself in the Western camp, might be interpreted as a pro-Communist policy which might have to contend with economic, possibly military, retaliation from the West.

Predictably, the Eisenhower Doctrine boomeranged. Inadvertently, it stiffened Arab resistance to the West and made Nasser’s objective of a United Arab Republic of Egypt and Syria easier, and, by design, it promoted the rival-pro-Western Arab Union of Iraq and Jordan. Aside from operating as a disruptive force within the Arab world, the Doctrine provided an easy mark for the Kremlin propagandists. These were the tangible effects of the much touted Doctrine.

Any Arab leader who expressed even a mild interest in the $200 million offered to win acceptance of the Doctrine was risking his political future. Only two Arab countries accepted any part of the boodle – Lebanon and Jordan. In Jordan, King Hussein had to overthrow his country’s more or less democratically elected parliament and cabinet and establish a military dictatorship in order to do it; in Lebanon, the civil war has its source in President Chamoun’s support of the Doctrine. The Lebanese opposition viewed this support as a violation of the 1943 covenant which established Lebanon’s independence and provided for its renunciation of all foreign military and political alliances.

WHILE LEBANON SUPPORTED THE Doctrine, it was challenged, not only by a wide section of Lebanese opinion that cut across religious lines, but by Egyptian-Syrian propaganda, as well. The effectiveness of the Cairo and Damascus broadcasts provoked several bizarre twists to Washington’s Middle East policy. In the first place the State Department denied the right of the Syrians and Egyptians to propagandize the Lebanese. “The United Arab Republic is subverting the Lebanese regime,” was Dulles’ cry. And, as everyone knows, the State Department will not tolerate any subversion in the Middle East! Dulles has added some more weight to the White Man’s Burden: the United States, 5,000 miles from Lebanon, is to decide whether it is good or bad for the Lebanese to listen to other Arab broadcasts, and, more than that, whether the United Arab Republic has the right to agitate its Arab neighbors.

Not content to rest his case here, Dulles decided to pile nonesense on absurdity. The Russians, he told the world, were guilty of “indirect aggression.” What exactly is the meaning of this contribution to the jargon of international diplomacy is not entirely clear. Not even its author could be precise about his formulation. But one variant of “indirect aggression,” it seems is when country “a” (the Russians) propagandizes country “b” (the United Arab Republic) and country “b” relays this propaganda (subversion, of course) to the population of country “c” (Lebanon) then country “a” is the “indirect aggressor” against country “c.”

Aside from the special kind of madness that brings forth such an argument from a Secretary of State, how vulnerable the United States is made by the concept! For what is the term that one would give to country “x” (the United States) which broadcasts its propaganda (subversion, of course) directly to country “y” (Russia). Logically, that should then be labelled “direct aggression.” And, if the United States is justified in meeting “indirect aggression” by direct force, then what should the Russians do in face of the “direct aggression” (or, perhaps, “direct indirect aggression”) of Radio Free Europe? More than that, doesn’t the theory of “indirect aggression” lend more than just a bit of credence to the Kremlin charge that if it weren’t for the American Radio broadcasts inciting the Hungarian people there never would have been the “regrettable” revolution and the “regrettable” necessity of suppressing American inspired subversion with Russian force? After all, why should anyone believe that the revolutionary activity of the Arab masses is the creature of Russian propaganda while the revolutionary zeal of the Hungarian people was not a response to the stimuli of American radio subverters?

Despite Dulles’ interdiction violent propaganda attacks continued – from both directions accompanied by alleged plots and counterplots, tension mounted with the U.S. 6th Fleet cruising in Levantine waters and Russia threatening to attack Turkey in the event of a Syrian-Turkish conflict. By the middle of May the civil war broke out in Lebanon sparked by the assassination of an Opposition editor and the widespread apprehension that President Chamoun would use his majority in Parliament, based as it was upon an election whose honesty had been widely questioned, to change the Constitution and provide for his re-election. The issue was clear cut though: the Opposition wanted to change the pro-Western orientation of the Chamoun regime to one of neutrality in the Cold War and bring it closer in line with the dominant Arab sentiment in the area. The charge that the civil war was based on outside infiltration into Lebanon was laid to rest by two reports of the United Nations Observation Group in Lebanon which concluded that while there had been some movement across the border, as happens in any civil war, it was unimportant and the evidence to substantiate the charges was inconclusive.

The precarious balance in Lebanon and the Middle East continued until July 14 when King Feisal’s Iraqi dictatorship was overthrown by a brief revolution which, as all evidence since then showed, had the widespread support of the people.

With the fall of the Iraqi regime, the entire Western position in the Middle East was in virtual collapse. It would no longer be possible to build a core of pro-Western states to challenge Egyptian-Syrian influence, and pan-Arab sentiment under Nasser’s leadership might make a clean sweep.

To forestall this, U.S. and British troops moved into Lebanon and Jordan. For a time Washington was seriously contemplating a counter-revolution in Iraq, but could not find even a core around which to build a new regime since both King Feisal, the former Regent, and Prime Minister Nuri Said had been murdered. But had these men been spared there is no reason to believe that they could have rallied any popular support. Virtually the entire population of Baghdad turned out in the streets the day after the revolution to celebrate its success.

HAD THE UNITED STATES FOLLOWED through the logic of its Lebanese intervention it would not only have had to occupy Iraq but most of the Middle East as well. Dulles and Eisenhower could not see their way clear to doing this – at least, not now. Even the Wall Street Journal recognized that the policy of “creating our own little principalities in the Middle East and preparing to police them endlessly” had to be rejected. Further occupation in the Middle East would not only have been tremendously unpopular throughout the world but could have led to a war with Russia; the Kremlin might well have carried out its threat to overrun Iran as its answer to American military intervention in Iraq. This, in turn, might have meant the United States and Russia plunging off their brinks into the maelstrom of total global war.

The United States neither wants nor is prepared for war with Russia, today.

Looked at from the point of view of practical politics, sending American Marines to Lebanon can be judged nothing more than a horrible, mistaken adventure. What has Dulles accomplished? The Chamoun regime got no more than a stay of execution; the old regime was not restored in Iraq; the humpty-dumpty Hussein regime is still fated for an irreparable fall; Nasser has gained in prestige; the Kremlin has been given a propaganda gift which it has exploited to the full; and the United States can hardly hope to play the role that it occasionally entertained for itself – that of an understanding and disinterested anticolonial power ready to conciliate Arab nationalism.

But what is most damaging for American prestige and interests is that the mistaken adventure is turning into an utter rout with the recent accession to power of the new president, General Fouad Chehab. The marines who had been “invited” in by the pro- Western Chamoun regime are now confronted by a government with definite neutralist leanings, its new premier being Rashid Karami, a leader of the anti-Chamoun rebels. Thus the American troops, if they are to maintain the pose of defending a legitimate government, might find themselves policing the country for an anti-Western government whose troops would be hunting down pro-Western supporters of ex-President Chamoun; either that course – which is absurd on the face of it, or attempt to overthrow the new government if it continues to move in a neutralist direction – which is probably too crass, even for Dulles.

The only course that is open to Washington is an ignominious withdrawal of troops from Lebanon.


WHAT IS RESPONSIBLE FOR AMERICAN reversals in the Middle East? Why hasn’t the United States proved capable of developing some reasonable policy to prevent total disaster?

In the first place, it must be remembered that when we are dealing with the question of policy we are also considering the human element. The recent twists and turns of the State Department, its misadventures, its bewilderment when faced by the complexities of the modem world and its inability to present a policy that can at least give the appearance of holding together in some coherent fashion for the Middle East – or anywhere else – must take into account the personal quality of American policy-makers.

And men like Eisenhower and Dulles are clearly lacking in the capacity to develop conceptions which they then try to apply consistently, or if consistency proves impossible, to readjust intelligently. If ever there was a unity between style and content in politics it can be found in any one of the president’s elucidations of American foreign policy.

However, while incompetence is certainly one reason for the mess Washington has made of its foreign affairs, it would be unfair to attribute its failures solely, or even primarily, to the Eisenhower team’s lack of finesse and imagination. The administration’s ineptness is exceptional, but it is not unique. It does not operate in a total vacuum or in total darkness. On the contrary, Eisenhower is all too fully conscious of his class responsibility; his trouble is that he tries to fulfill this responsibility with a kind of primitive devotion and instinct.

This question of class rule and class responsibility, we believe, sets certain limits on the effectiveness of any policy designed by any administration which is obligated to defend American capitalist interests in the modern world. Adlai Stevenson is incomparably more cultivated than Eisenhower and Dean Acheson is infinitely more competent than Dulles, but there is every reason to doubt that even this team of Democratic heavyweights could have prevented the imminent disaster for the United States in the Islamic world. They might make a better show of it, but not too much more than that.

We already have had the experience of the Truman administration which had the benefit of the skillful talents of Dean Acheson as Secretary of State. The best this combination could do was the Truman Doctrine which sought to consolidate – or secure – American authority in the Middle East with the kind of ultimatums and threats made more explicit in the Eisenhower Doctrine. But, more than that, had the Democrats been in a position to carry out their policy at the time of the Suez crisis it would have led to a national, perhaps an international, calamity. At that time the most eminent and sophisticated Democratic personalities took the Eisenhower administration to task for deserting its European allies. The Democratic Party has always given priority to the North Atlantic alliance and it is most likely that they would have either supported or sympathetically tolerated the Anglo-French aggression against Egypt rather than antagonize their European allies and weaken NATO.

Dean Acheson, writing in the Reporter magazine shortly after the Suez crisis, gave a candid view of what American policy would have been had he and his Democratic co-thinkers been its architects:

The canal might have been left blocked by Nasser’s ships. This could give canal users like India a refreshing sense of realism. We might still start on freeing Europe from so much dependence on the canal by pipelines through non-Arab countries and by vigorous construction of large tankers. We might much more energetically hasten the day when, nuclear energy could replace a substantial portion of petroleum energy, if only on a standby basis.

There are other courses of action that might induce a more understanding and reasonable attitude in Colonel Nasser – courses of action which recall Winston Churchill’s admonition to the French, quoted from Thiers: “Think of it always; speak of it never.”

When by our own efforts our bargaining position had been improved, a broad and imaginative economic program for the area as a whole would both be and appear to be the generous act of one in a strong position, rather than an act of appeasement from weakness. (Italics added.)

Here, then, is the face of imperialist strategy without benefit of elegant rhetoric. England and France attempt to seize the Suez Canal by military force. The Egyptians retaliate by sinking ships to block the canal. We urge our European allies to leave the canal blocked. You see, “This could give canal users like India a refreshing sense of realism.” After giving neutralist India an object lesson in Achesonian Applied Democracy, we see to it that by one means or another (new pipelines, large tankers taking new routes, etc.) European dependence on the canal is bypassed. When, through economic pressure and “other courses of action” in line with Thiers’ cynical injunction, Nasser is brought to his knees, then the United States could offer a prostrated and cowed Middle East a “broad and imaginative economic program” which would “both be and appear to be the generous act of one in a strong position.”

Can anyone doubt that if this strategy advocated by the ideologue of so many American liberals had been transformed from a Reporter article to an active guide for State Department policy America’s prestige throughout the colonial world and in all uncommitted nations would have reached the vanishing point?

THE UNITED STATES HAS NO principled objection to national movements per se. That much is true. Washington was not distraught when India gained its freedom from England and it is no secret that the Tunisian nationalist movement – whose political orientation differs from Nasser-led nationalism-had not met with any special hostility from the State Department. In such instances America could afford to be liberal: national independence did not seem to conflict with America’s Cold War interests and sometimes opened up interesting commercial possibilities. But, nationalism in the Middle East! That is another matter. For the concrete forms and objectives that nationalism has taken in that area are regarded as a threat to America’s political, strategic and economic interests.

The economic conflict is a matter of oil. American capital is more heavily invested in Middle East oil than in any other field in any other part of the world. It is also the most profitably invested, as labor productivity in this fabulously rich area is roughly equivalent to that in the United States while wages doled out to the Arab oil workers are about one-tenth those paid to American workers. As the demand for oil appears to be unlimited a very high percentage of the profits gushing out of the wells is being reinvested. And the threat to the oil industry of the use of atomic power as a substitute source of energy in the future acts as a further incentive to develop the oil fields even more extensively today.

From its enormous profits, and inspired by the prospect of endless riches, American capital has served as a corruptive economic and political influence in the Middle East where administrators and monarchs have been bribed and bought.

The danger for private foreign capital from Arab nationalism is clear: it threatens to nationalize the oil fields. That would not only eliminate a most lucrative area to plunder, it could become a threat to the oil industry in the United States as well. The Middle East produces two-thirds of the world’s supply of oil. Bearing in mind the high productivity of labor and low labor costs, Arab governments could easily drop the price of oil on the world market to the alarm of their American competitors.

This drive of Arab nationalism for control of its own oil resources is not only a matter of prestige or propaganda. It follows from the peculiar character of most oil enriched Arab lands that any movement which seeks to raise the Arab masses out of the depths of poverty (and to instill in them a sense of national pride and personal dignity) must utilize the enormous revenues from the oil fields for more constructive purposes than fat dividends to foreign investors and bullet-proof Cadillacs for reigning sheikhs. Most Arab lands have highly efficient oil fields – but practically nothing else. Other industrial enterprises are primitive by comparison, much of the land is barren and what is under cultivation is usually unproductive. However, the revenues that would accrue to an Arab nation in control of its own fields could provide the money necessary for wider industrial development and, above all, for executing large irrigation projects without which all talk of land reforms and increased agricultural production is of limited meaning.

It is true that not all Arab countries rich with oil could productively invest in their own economies all the income derived from nationalized oil fields. This limit to productive internal investment limits the value of oil nationalization for a particular country; but it doesn’t eliminate the enormous immediate advantages. Moreover, where Iraq is rich in oil, Egypt is not. The surplus monies which Iraq could not productively use today in its own country could be used in Egypt for essential, vast water projects that it cannot finance. The well-being of the Egyptian economy, in turn, particularly its agriculture, could be of political and economic assistance to Iraq.

The American government – be it Eisenhower or Stevenson at the helm – cannot be indifferent to Arab nationalism’s inherent threat to American investment. It would be a crudity, however, to insist that the Marines have landed in Lebanon only to protect American capital. In addition to this concern the Americans can hardly afford to lose control of an elementoil – that is so vital to the economic and military needs of their European allies who are almost wholly dependent upon the Middle East for their supplies. There is no cause to believe that, today, the Arab world, if it controlled oil, would cut itself off from its Western market. Where else can its oil be sold? But there is no assurance, either, that tomorrow the Middle East will not find other markets or use such control of oil for political-retaliatory purposes against the West. The best way to avoid this danger is to frustrate the nationalist encroachment on Western capitalism’s private oil preserves.

TO EFFECTIVELY CONTROL ITS OIL reserves, to institute land reforms and further these reforms with income from oil, to develop its industries and to modernize and extend its educational facilities, the nationalist movement is brought into head on collision with pashas and sheikhs, with landowners and corrupt officials, with those bound by tradition and others bound to the bribes and munificent salaries paid by foreign oil companies. Thus, the nationalist offensive inevitably evolves into a revolutionary struggle on several fronts: against the foreign enemy, against the ruling bureaucracy and against outmoded social institutions. And political reality has proved that the nationalist movement cannot carry on this struggle for independence and reform if it is committed to the West in the Cold War. How could Arab nationalism fight against the pernicious influence of the British owned Iraq Petroleum Company and, simultaneously, declare itself politically committed to the West in the Cold War?

Once this nationalist movement took a definite neutralist direction, the United States was forced to adopt a harsh policy. Washington wants stability in the Middle East; but it also needs a political commitment. At one point the State Department hoped to promote stability in the Middle East above all, in Egypt, with land reform programs. (These land reforms were limited to promoting credit and cooperative marketing and the like; they were not designed to reform the basic inequities of ownership and income which related to the fundamental organization of Egyptian society.) Now the accent has changed. The quest for stability plus political commitment plus the need to protect oil investments has led Washington to seek out and support the most reactionary elements in the Middle East: the sheikhs, landlords, monarchs and lackeys who know that the advance of Arab nationalism is a threat to their political power and wealth. This is no longer a theory. It is proved by recent events in Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan.

Naturally, Washington feels compelled to clothe its Middle Eastern allies in democratic dress. Thus the nation and the entire world were recently treated to the spectacle of Washington propagandists mounting a democratic halo around a cadillac-loving absolute feudal monarch who was then paraded before the public as a staunch ally of democracy in the Middle East. That Ibn Saud, far from being a real live version of Rudolf Valentino, is the ruler of one of the most barbaric sheikdoms in the Arab world – where a thief can have his hand cut off, or a man’s head be placed on a chopping block for even lighter offenses – was of little importance; Saudi Arabia way – that is no longer certain – part of the pro-Western bloc and rich in oil which is all the credentials one now needs in the Middle East for receiving Washington’s benedictions.

The royal welcome Washington gave Ibn Saud is typical of the American approach that has given the Kremlin the political opportunity it has been seeking in the Middle East. Russia has no record of economic penetration in the Middle East; and no history of political involvement before the war. In this sense, it begins with a clean bill of health in the eyes of thousands of ardent Arab nationalists. Furthermore, the fact that the Kremlin has no prior history in the area, removes whatever restraints might otherwise exist to its demagogic support of Arab nationalism. Every reactionary move by the Americans, therefore, can be easily exploited by the Kremlin for its own imperialist, global interests. Dulles repudiates economic commitments to Egypt, and Russia enters the scene with promises of economic aid; Americans sponsor the Baghdad Pact, and the Russians join the Arab nationalists in denouncing it; Washington places its trust in the most reactionary social elements and the Russians become the champions of social change (at the same time as they maintain most friendly ties with the absolute feudal sheikhdom in Yemen); where the Americans send Marines to Lebanon the Russians supply the United Arab Republic with arms.

The tremendous propaganda capital which naturally accrues to the Russians is not limited to the Middle East. With the world’s attention focused on the area the Kremlin appears as the champion of underprivileged peoples in the eyes of many millions throughout the colonial world. It was not for nothing that Khrushchev recently proposed a toast to the Kremlin’s best friend – the American Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles.

WITH THE PERIOD JUST AFTER the end of World War II the Arab masses, immobilized for centuries, began to move out of their lethargy and, in the decade since, Arab nationalism has evolved into a movement of such power and passion that even the most obtuse should be able to recognize it as an irreversible national revolutionary force. It must be accepted. But not merely because it is inevitable. Its aim is also just. Ending the power of the foreign pashas will not automatically guarantee that the best of all possible worlds will immediately emerge in the Middle East. It would, however, permit a start in the right direction. How else could a more stable and democratic society arise if not through the unleashing of Arab energies and potentialities, the precondition of which is national independence?

But if we sympathize with the overall objective that does not mean that we endorse all the specific forms that nationalism has taken and all of its methods and all of its programs. There are any number of specific policies pursued by the dominant nationalist current, Nasserism, which cannot be endorsed. A detailed discussion of these objections is beyond the scope of these Notes. However, they must be mentioned to avoid any misunderstanding of our views.

First, the Arab nationalist movement has taken an indefensible position vis-à-vis Israel. It proclaims without any equivocation its intention of totally destroying the Jewish State. That the Arab world has legitimate grievances against the Israelis can not reasonably be challenged by democrats. But Israel is a fact; it is a State and not a mere Zionist plot. It is also the most advanced state in the Middle East, socially, culturally and economically, with a labor and socialist movement that is powerful and a parliamentary system that is far more democratic than exists anywhere in the Arab world. In addition, it must never be forgotten that Israel provided a refuge for hundreds of thousands of European Jews who escaped Hitler’s slaughter chambers. Without Israel where could these tragically uprooted have turned? (The argument offered by Arab intellectuals that Israel is not justified because the Jews are not a “nation” culturally is callous and irrelevant; perhaps they are not a cultural entity but the Nazis failed to see this fine point and their persecution of the Jews has resolved any question that they are a dispersed people with certain common problems and interests.)

Second, the nationalist movement wherever it has come to power has not replaced the political rule of the old ruling class with political democracy. In Egypt and Syria opposition political parties are not permitted. This policy, indefensible from a democratic point of view, flows from a basic distrust of the masses which Nasser has frankly admitted to in his important book, Egypt’s Liberation: The Philosophy of the Revolution.

Our third objection concerns the nationalist attitude toward Russia. The charge that there is a Khrushchev-Nasser axis is an absurdity that has gained currency in certain liberal quarters. There is no such axis. All one has to do is to look at the speed with which the Communist Parties are smashed wherever nationalism takes power to see how silly the charge really is. The dominant nationalist movement is not at the service of the Kremlin, but, neither has it publicly repudiated the Kremlin. The Nasserites, in exchange for the "support” given them by the Russians, are playing along with the Russians, conciliating them, sometimes praising them (at the same time that they are wary of them). Thus, at the United Nations political debates on Hungary the Arab nationalists did not denounce the Russian suppression of the Hungarian revolution and the United Arab Republic has refused to support the recent motion that the U.N. investigate the murder of Imre Nagy. There is no moral or political justification for this public indifference to Russian totalitarianism. What is more, by pacifying the Kremlin, the Arab nationalists are pursuing a self-destructive policy, because the fundamental interests of totalitarianism and nationalism are irreconcilable. If Russia builds up a popular base among the Arab masses and intellectuals, the present Arab nationalist leadership might rue the day it decided to subordinate criticism of Russian totalitarianism to what it considers its immediate interests.

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