Readers React

Should the U.S. guarantee safety in the Mideast?

To the editor: Professor Steven L. Spiegel's idea of the U.S. entering into formal defense treaties with Israel, Saudi Arabia and other nearby Arab states, if implemented, guarantees nothing but more Middle East wars fought by the U.S. in the future. ("A security treaty with Iran's potential victims could ensure deal compliance," op-ed, April 6)

The problem is that our treaty partners will then control U.S. actions and policy.

What if Saudi Arabia, emboldened by its recent attack on Yemen, decides to attack an Iranian naval vessel and Iran shoots back? With a formal defense treaty in place, the U.S. would be obligated to defend Saudi Arabia and wage a "hot" war on Iran.

Such a war is in the interests of no country.

John R. Yates, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Spiegel offers a worthy proposal, namely, provide Israel and friendly Arab countries with a nuclear umbrella to deter Iran. Implemented, it could dissuade concerned Arab nations from going nuclear.

But the proposal deserves expansion in another direction. Given Washington's implicit alliance with Jerusalem already, hasn't the time come for the U.S. to formalize the relationship into a mutual defense pact?

This not only would serve to reduce Israel's concerns about Iran, it would provide it with the defense in depth and sense of security to make the two-state solution a reality secured by putting the new Palestinian state on notice that an attack on Israel would be an attack on the United States.

Bennett Ramberg, Los Angeles

The writer served as a policy analyst in the State Department's Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs in the George H.W. Bush administration.

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