Congress, the Nixon Administration, and Step-by-Step Diplomacy
The third chapter, based on research from the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, FRUS, and the Congressional Record, explores congressional reactions to Nixon’s request for $2.2 billion in emergency military aid for Israel, as well as U.S. efforts to restart the peace process. Despite efforts by Fulbright and several other legislators, along with the Nixon administration’s lack of effort to justify such a massive aid package, Congress passed the emergency aid bill in full. Legislators successfully argued that Israel needed the immense amount of aid in order to feel strong enough to take risks in peace negotiations. But by May 1974, fearful that Israel felt too strong, the Nixon administration started to threaten to cut off all military aid to soften Israel’s position in peace negotiations. The fall of Nixon due to Watergate sapped the power of the White House at precisely the moment when a strong president was needed to advance such an ambitious program of U.S. peace diplomacy. Also important, Kissinger had to work against pro-Israel elements that sought to scuttle his gradual approach to a comprehensive peace.
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