Reagan's Policy Shift
Moslem Offensive and Marine Departure
President Reagan has discovered in recent weeks, as others have before him, that Lebanon's conflicts seem to defy solution. Throughout the past 18 months of direct U.S. involvement in that country, his policy has been based on three objectives:“the withdrawal of all external forces” from the country;“a sovereign, independent Lebanon dedicated to national unity and able to exercise control throughout its national territory”; and “security for Israel's northern border.”1 The U.S. Marine contingent in the four-nation multinational peacekeeping force (MNF) stationed in Beirut was both the instrument of this policy and the symbol of American commitment to it.
By the end of February the Marines had been removed on Reagan's orders to Sixth Fleet ships offshore, Lebanese President Amin ...