The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979 not only produced its own new conflicts over response, but for the first time brought the USSR into a position where it could pose a direct threat to that central component of the old equilibrium, the Persian Gulf oilfields and the Straits of Hormuz. This chapter suggests that these doleful events were a natural-enough development, given the realities of Middle East countries and given the factors shaping US policies toward the region since World War II. It also considers possible alternative US policies for the future which might bring about a new equilibrium between the USA, Western Europe and the Middle East. In the longer run and in the more fundamental sense, the USA should move decisively in leading the Western Alliance away from its extreme dependence upon Persian Gulf oil. An argument can be made that the USSR was bound to undertake military intervention to preserve a Marxist regime in Afghanistan.