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"Explain slowly—what does he need all those weapons for, and why does he need nuclear reactors?"

In this cartoon, Block drew Secretary of State Henry Kissinger delivering a box of nuclear material to Iranian Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. In 1975, the United States signed a cooperative agreement with then-ally Iran, permitting the U.S. to sell nuclear energy equipment to the middle eastern country. Herb Block agreed with critics of President Gerald Ford's foreign policy and questioned why Iran needed nuclear technology when it was so rich in oil.

"Explain slowly—what does he need all those weapons for, and why does he need nuclear reactors?" Published in The Washington Post, March 20, 1975. Sketch 1. Sketch 2. Ink, graphite, and opaque white over graphite and blue pencil underdrawing accompanied by graphite sketches. Herbert L. Block Collection. Prints and Photographs Division (16). Digital ID # ppmsca-11980

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"This'll show everyone how tough we are"

Herb Block portrayed "Syria" and Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser expressing a dangerous bravado and apparent willingness to ignite a powder keg of built-up arms. In the late spring of 1967, both countries had increased troops and military supplies near their borders with Israel as a response to Israel's warning that it would attack if guerrilla raids from Syria did not cease. Earlier, Egypt had banned United Nations' forces from the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza Strip, then barred Israeli ships from the Gulf of Aqaba. Block pictured the heightened tension resulting from these developments in the Middle East, which escalated into the Six-Day War, from June 5 to June 10, 1967.

"This'll show everyone how tough we are." Published in The Washington Post, May 24, 1967. Sketch 1. Sketch 2. Ink, graphite, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing with graphite sketches. Herbert L. Block Collection. Prints and Photographs Division (17). Digital ID# ppmsca-11981

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"'I think it's better if the Iranians go to bed every night wondering what we might do' —Reagan"

In this cartoon created during the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1990), Herb Block suggested that President Ronald Reagan's remark in response to an Iraqi attack that killed Americans would cause sleepless, anxious nights not only in the Middle East but also the United States. Following the Iraqi aircraft attack that killed thirty-seven men aboard the U.S. Navy frigate Stark on May 17, the Reagan administration gave no hint of what the United States might do if its ships in the Persian Gulf were attacked by Iran's new land-based missiles.

"'I think it's better if the Iranians go to bed every night wondering what we might do' —Reagan" Published in The Washington Post, May 29, 1987. Sketch 1. Ink, crayon, tonal film overlay, overlays, and porous point pen over blue pencil underdrawing accompanied by graphite sketch. Herbert L. Block Collection. Prints and Photographs Division (18). Digital ID # ppmsca-11982

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"It came from out of nowhere"

Here, Herb Block depicted the complete surprise of Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and Uncle Sam at the Suez War of 1956. In July 1956, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal, which had been controlled by the British. On October 29, Israel successfully invaded both the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula. England and France did not inform the United States when they secretly backed Israel against Egypt in the war and used their military power to attempt to force Egypt to surrender the canal, but Nasser retaliated by sinking forty ships in its waters.

"It came from out of nowhere." Published in The Washington Post, November 2, 1956. Ink, graphite, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection. Prints and Photographs Division (19). Digital ID # ppmsca-11983

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