America in the Mideast: A Breakdown in Foreign Policy

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VOL. 13


No. 3
P. 3
America in the Mideast: A Breakdown in Foreign Policy

Former Undersecretary of State George Ball delivered the following address on February 28, I984, at a Georgetown University forum on "US Policy in the Middle East," sponsored by the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies and the Student Lecture Fund, Georgetown University.

When I was in the State Department during the long agony of Vietnam, I repeatedly reminded my colleagues of the anecdote of the small boy at the zoo whose father pointed out a large caged animal and announced, "See, that's a giraffe," to which the boy very sensibly answered, "Why?"

That question had a special relevance at the time for, throughout the top reaches of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, almost everyone was preoccupied to the point of obsession with the question "how," but there was little patience with the question "why."