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Slowly and reluctantly, Europe and the United States are coming to realize that the pattern of events in the Middle East reflects more than random turbulence in the aftermath of the British and French Empires. For nearly thirty turbulent years, the Soviet Union has sought control of this geo-political nerve center in order to bring Western Europe into its sphere. Even if Soviet ambitions were confined to Europe, Soviet hegemony in the Middle East would profoundly change the world balance of power. But Soviet control of the Middle East would lead inevitably to further accretions of Soviet power if China, Japan, and many smaller and more vulnerable countries should conclude that the United States had lost the will or the capacity to defend its vital interests, and that sauve qui peut, and devil take the hindmost, had therefore become the order of the day.

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