Troubled Waters

While the U.S. has its own strategic interests to defend in the Persian Gulf | region, the West Europeans and Japan clearly have the most at stake in that dangerous area. Yet some U.S. officials complain that America's allies are not contributing enough to the gulf's defense, and Kenneth Timmerman, author of a recent study on arms sales to Iran and Iraq titled Fanning the Flames, agrees. Says Timmerman: "The Europeans are doing nothing to safeguard their own interests in the gulf."

At present levels of consumption, only 7% of America's oil comes from gulf producers, in contrast to nearly 25%...