Two Soviet Affairs Experts Criticize Us Mideast Policy

Two experts on Soviet affairs criticized United States policies in the Middle East before a Congressional subcommittee yesterday and asserted that to prevent a renewed outbreak of war in that region the US must make it clear that it will stand behind Israel as long as the Soviet Union supports Egypt. That opinion was expressed by Dr. Walter Z. Laqueur, associate counselor at Georgetown University’s Center for Strategic and International Studies and Dr. Herbert S. Dinerstein, a professor of Soviet Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and an associate of the Washington Center for Foreign Policy.

They testified at the first in a series of five hearings of the Subcommittee on Europe and the Near East of the House Foreign Affairs Committee which is assessing Soviet goals in the Middle East and Western response. Dr. Dinerstein said the US “really does not have any choice but to support Israel” under the present circumstances though he did not believe the US should give Israel all the military aid it wants. Dr. Laqueur described the current situation in the Middle East as “ambiguous” and “dangerous to peace.”

He said the US must make it forcefully clear that it “does not plan to leave the area.” He added that one means of defusing the area would be to have the two superpowers agree that no matter what happened they would not become involved militarily. Dr. Laqueur observed that the Soviet Union will seek to preserve the atmosphere of “controlled tension” in the region. He said neither Russia nor the US would do anything in the region that could prevent next spring’s summit meeting in Moscow.

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