U.S. Self-Interest and Oil Crisis in Persian Gulf

The column by William Pfaff, "We've Gone as Far as We Can" (Commentary, Aug. 15), reminds us that it is difficult to "sit on bayonets," and questions whether U.S. ground forces can achieve the goal of the liberation of Kuwait by just sitting in Saudi Arabia. King Hussein of Jordan has now given us and Iraq a face-saving alternative: i.e., a negotiated peace, a plebiscite in Kuwait and a withdrawal of Israel from the occupied territories. President Bush should not be so quick to reject this proposal. Haven't we tried for some time to achieve a Middle East settlement?

The former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia says that the blockade is now putting pressure on Iraq, but a continued blockade might cause defection by some Arab countries that now support it, such as Morocco, and weaken our position diplomatically. If we achieve a negotiated settlement and remove our troops, the Arab nations might not be so uneasy about our intentions in their part of the world. True leadership on our part will require wisdom as well as determination.

BARBARA G. RADER

Spring Valley

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