Spheres of Intervention: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Collapse of Lebanon, 1967-1976 (Cornell University Press), by James R. Stocker
Despite access to recently declassified documents, Trinity Washington University international affairs professor James Stocker finds that much about the political turmoil surrounding Lebanon remains in dispute. All sides blame everyone else; the boundaries between sides have sometimes shifted; contradictory theories abound. One thing is clear: the U.S. is widely blamed in the Arab world for causing the Lebanese civil war that tore the country apart on sectarian lines.
Stocker finds that the U.S. had a role in the problem, though perhaps not as decisive as America’s detractors insist. Viewing Lebanon in the context of the Cold War, the Arab oil embargo and as an impediment to the elusive solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, the U.S. sometimes supported the Lebanese government and sometimes bestowed favor on particular militias in an effort “to have an impact on the balance of power in the country.” At other times, Stocker shows, America’s impact on the Lebanon resulted more from neglect than design.