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Arms Transfers under Nixon

Arms Transfers under Nixon: A Policy Analysis

Lewis Sorley
Copyright Date: 1983
Edition: 1
Pages: 248
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  • Book Info
    Arms Transfers under Nixon
    Book Description:

    A model of policy analysis,Arms Transfers under Nixonprovides a lucid and lively demonstration of how the Nixon administration combined skillful diplomacy and the adroit use of arms transfers to bring about a remarkable series of American foreign policy achievements. The Middle East provides the most dramatic example. Here, the Arab-Israeli military balance was stabilized, Egypt was persuaded and enabled to forsake its heavy dependence upon the Soviet Union, conditions favorable to peace negotiations were arranged, and important interim agreements were brokered by the United States.

    In the Persian Gulf, the promotion of Iran and Saudi Arabia as effective guarantors of regional stability in the wake of British withdrawal, and maintaining the pro-Western orientation of these governments, are shown to have been essential to crucial United States and Western interests. The dramatic reversal with the collapse of the Shah's government is assessed, as are the causes of that post-Nixon debacle.

    The battles that accompanied the administration's initiatives -- battles with hostile nations, with allies, with the Congress, and even within the administration -- and the diplomatic and political moves by which opposition was overcome provide the stuff of an exciting and instructive narrative.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-4933-2
    Subjects: Political Science, Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. ix-x)
    Robert E. Osgood

    The grant and sale of conventional arms have been, and will remain, among the most important instruments of policy in the politics of nations since World War II. Yet, compared to military strategy or economic aid, arms transfers have received very little systematic analysis, as opposed to polemical attention. Notwithstanding the general concern—especially in the United States—to curb conventional arms transfers (increasingly, in the form of sales), they have continued to serve the interests of the United States and other major (and some lesser) industrial-military states. Suppliers show little interest in collective restraints; recipients show no interest in...

  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  6. 1. The Inherited Situation
    (pp. 1-21)

    Economic and military assistance as an instrument of policy has long been an important and, given the success of the Marshall Plan and the Truman Doctrine in the years following World War II, honorable adjunct of American involvement in world affairs. The idea of helping friendly nations to help themselves, especially where in so doing they were enabled to contribute to blocking the spread of hostile influence, appealed to both the prudence and the generosity in the national character.

    While military sales were slender in the early postwar days of impoverished allies trying to rebuild war-damaged industrial bases and reestablish...

  7. 2. The Nixon Foreign Policy
    (pp. 22-32)

    Analysis of the record reveals certain fundamental precepts embodied in the foreign policy of the Nixon administration:

    First, and controlling, was the belief that interests depended on maintenance of a stable world order that could accommodate basic changes evolving in international relationships.

    Second was the conviction that, to further its interests, the United States must continue to play a meaningful—and therefore activist—role in world affairs.

    Third was the premise that effective foreign policy must be guided by an overall concept, which was often referred to by this administration as building “a durable structure for peace.”

    Fourth was the...

  8. 3. Arms Transfer Policy and Mechanisms
    (pp. 33-41)

    The purposes for which arms transfers have been made are numerous and diverse. At the most general level, as we have observed, they may constitute an instrument of policy that can substitute for more direct involvement on the part of a nation that is inhibited from taking a direct hand. They may be employed for reasons that are predominantly political, military, or economic in nature. Typically, however, particularly where the use of arms transfers by the United States during the Nixon era was concerned, a combination of these factors led to the decision to effect a given arms transfer, with...

  9. 4. Middle East Policy Objectives
    (pp. 42-50)

    The essence of the story of the Nixon arms transfer policy is in the Middle East.¹ It is where the bulk of the arms were sent. It is where the crucial decisions as to policy were directed and where they represented the most dramatic changes from past policy. And it is where the most spectacular successes were achieved.

    What were the goals and achievements of the Nixon arms transfer policy in the Middle East? They were to peel Egyptians away from the Soviets, engineer essential military balance in the Arab-Israeli confrontation, negotiate steps toward agreement on a peace settlement, and...

  10. 5. Egypt as the Key
    (pp. 51-76)

    No arms were transferred to Egypt by the Nixon administration; yet it is not an exaggeration to say that Egypt was the key to the success of the Nixon policy in the Middle East and to the important part that arms transfer manipulation played in achieving that success.

    At the beginning of the 1950s the major arms suppliers to the various nations of the region were the United States, the United Kingdom, and France. In May 1950 these three announced a Tripartite Declaration, which had as its purpose avoidance of an arms race in the area. They also created a...

  11. 6. Trying to Live with Israel
    (pp. 77-105)

    If the essence of dealing with Egypt was forging a new relationship, with Israel it was trying to manage an existing one. Even before the Nixon administration took office it was involved in a controversy concerning Israel, and predictably it concerned the supply of arms. The year 1968 had opened with a visit to Washington by the Israeli prime minister, Levi Eshkol, during which a joint communiqué was issued stating that “the United States would keep under active and sympathetic consideration the defensive needs of Israel.”¹

    In the wake of that public reassurance there followed a prolonged controversy over whether...

  12. 7. Jordan and the Persian Gulf Mosaic
    (pp. 106-133)

    Testifying on behalf of foreign assistance in the summer of 1974, Secretary Kissinger remarked that aid for Jordan was intended to “strengthen Jordan’s ability to hold to the course of moderation it has consistently followed.”¹ The single comment could serve to reflect both the unique role Jordan has played in the affairs of the Middle East and the reason the United States has consistently sought to support the government of King Hussein and assist it in playing that role. Jordan could, in fact, serve as the very model of what a state with only modest resources, and surrounded by larger...

  13. 8. NATO and West European Arms Transfers
    (pp. 134-151)

    The realm of arms transfers to West European nations, and particularly to those forming part of the NATO alliance, is very much a special case when it comes to evaluating the Nixon administration’s arms transfer policy. Only with respect to these transfers were the critics relatively uninvolved. These were developed nations, undeniably able to allocate a portion of their budgets to defense expenditures, faced with an observable threat in the East, possessing the trained manpower and technical sophistication to operate and maintain modern weaponry, already clearly linked to the United States by an overt mutual security agreement, and—some argued...

  14. 9. Latin America, Asia, and Africa
    (pp. 152-174)

    Arms transfer policy with regard to Latin America was inherited by the Nixon administration and was legislatively determined rather than being the result of any administration intentions. Imposing rigid constraints, or at any rate attempting to do so, on Latin American arms acquisitions appeared to be done not because there was much of a problem there but because it was easy to do to a group of friendly and relatively weak neighboring states.

    Administration policy, as differentiated from that mandated by the Congress, had been consistent and coherent on the matter of arms transfers to Latin America for a number...

  15. 10. Conclusion
    (pp. 175-184)

    The capability of defending itself is at the very heart of a nation’s concerns. Its survival, its sovereignty, and the perpetuation of the government in power all rest (in the last resort) on the means to resist external and internal threats. These means are, above all else, weapons. Nations will acquire weapons, no matter what the cost or the impact on their economy or the burden on domestic needs, if they feel themselves threatened. This is what Ali Bhutto meant when he said that Pakistan would eat grass to equal India.

    It has been easy for the United States to...

  16. Epilogue
    (pp. 185-190)

    Arms transfers continued to be an important, useful, and controversial instrument of policy in the years following the close of the Nixon/Ford administration. President Carter came to office with an announced determination to cut back severely on American involvement in arms transfers, and only four months into his term asserted that arms transfers would henceforth be an “exceptional policy instrument.” This meant, he indicated, that the United States would not be the first to introduce advanced systems into a region, that development of weapons systems designed solely for export would no longer be permitted, that coproduction agreements involving significant weapons...

  17. Appendix: Arms Transfer Figures and Tables
    (pp. 191-200)
  18. Notes
    (pp. 201-217)
  19. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 218-224)
  20. Index
    (pp. 225-231)