Nationalism in the AreaApart from the Arab-Israeli conflict, a strong Arab nationalism has grown in reaction to an era of outside political control which has now ended. It is nurtured by a persistent yearning for unity among Arab nations. But traditional and ideological rivalries make it difficult for Arabs to agree on the form their unity should take. The attempts to fashion unity, therefore, sharpen tensions.
At the heart of these disputes is a fundamental ideological disagreement on how Arab society should respond to pressures for rapid modernization. As a consequence, some of the more militant forces exploit issues of anti-imperialism and Arab nationalism, even where these are not the real issues. For their own nationalist or ideological reasons, they seek to reduce the U.S. position. The ironic result of their action-if they succeeded-would be to make the area once again more vulnerable to outside domination.
Thus some political currents in the area make it more difficult for the U.S. to maintain, as we would wish to do, productive relations with nations on both sides of inter-Arab disputes. We will continue to maintain friendly relations with all the countries of the area which welcome our friendship. We can make a significant contribution, as we have in the past, to the development of the Arab world in the fields of education and technical training, business management and investment. The value of the contribution we can make, and wish to make, creates a common interest in the maintenance of decent relationships which may offset pressures to disrupt them.