Cultivating a Middle East Ally

After wresting independence from France in 1962, Algeria established itself as an exemplar of Third World socialism, often criticizing U.S. foreign policy and breaking diplomatic ties with Washington during the 1967 Six-Day War. While Algeria renewed relations with the U.S. seven years later, it is Colonel Chadli Bendjedid, President since 1979, who has launched his country on a more moderate course. Last week Bendjedid became the first Algerian leader to make a state visit to the U.S.

Bendjedid's red-carpet welcome reflected Algeria's increasing importance to the Reagan Administration. With ties to both radical and moderate Arabs, Algeria could help revive Middle...

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