A very wide-ranging, very sharp study by an ex-Ambassador to Egypt, now Director of Columbia University's Middle East Institute. The study bears the Council on Foreign Relations imprimatur and the author eschews pretensions to a morality beyond national interest, for the most part avoiding ""free world"" jargon. He begins with the fact that the American role in the Mideast has been troubled and troubling, often identified with past European control, because of the nature of its interests: petroleum, strategic location, counter-Soviet influence, and stability. ""Stability"" is a nebulous term, Badeau notes, as is ""the Arab world,"" and he proceeds to dissect them. He then recommends three policy guidelines: development aid even to unpalatable kinds of governments, nonpartisanship in local disputes, and direct protection of vital U.S. interests. A case study is presented (U.S. success in preventing the Yemen war from disrupting the Saudi monarchy) and the Israel situation forthrightly discussed. Badeau says that U.S. connection with Israel is ""a liability"" to vital interests, not an asset; explains why; and concludes that the U.S. must continue to resist popular pressure to support Israel, while aiding even the ""more radical"" Arab nations and using the U.N. as a ""stabilizer."" Apart from its glaring lack of analysis of the oil industry as a policy-maker, the book is lucid and valuable--not least to those who dispute its premises.