Editor's Note: A Greek political scientist who specializes on the Horn of Africa examines the genesis of U.S. involvement in Somalia in the 1970s.-The Editor U. S. policy in the Horn of Africa during the 1970's was marked by the constraints posed by the international environment. The "twin pillar" policy formulated by the Nixon administration, and later by the Ford administration, was continued by the Carter administration. (1) However, Carter's major policy shift in 1979-1980 was not because of Soviet support for Ethiopia or the Somali abrogation of the treaty with the Soviets. The U.S. tended to misunderstand indigenous political changes in the Middle East and particularly in Iran. (2) In addition, human rights as an attempt to devise an alternative strategy for rallying domestic support and to cope with international complexity ultimately proved to be a failure.