THE NATION: What If . . .?

That last spasm of European gunboat diplomacy, the British-French invasion of Egypt, shattered the already fractured historical pattern in which Britain and France acted as order-keepers in the Middle East. Thrust upon the U.S. was the task of trying to restore law and order, a task vastly complicated by the Middle East's blindered hatreds and prides, and by the 20th century necessity of conducting foreign affairs in a goldfish bowl. In edging toward the goal of order, U.S. diplomacy has met a remarkable series of tricky "What Ifs?" In each case the...

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