Us Involvement In Gulf War Essay

Us Involvement In Gulf War Essay-50
Some in Washington have traditionally argued that because the United States has entered the region eschewing colonial ambitions, championing the rule of law and the authority of the United Nations, and seeking economic growth and political stability, America stands out as a singular and responsible overseer. policy, however, there is no question that the United States recognizes the region’s significance.Most of those in the Middle East and most independent Western observers, however, see the United States’ role as far less benign, citing U. support for repressive and corrupt monarchies, the exploitative practices by American oil companies and other multinational corporations, the promotion of a secular and materialistic lifestyle, the highly prejudicial use of the UN Security Council, the arming and bankrolling of a militaristic and expansionist Israel, destabilization efforts against internationally recognized governments, and periodic military interventions. At the intersection of three continents and the source of most of the world’s petroleum reserves, the Middle East has been described by leading American officials as the most strategically important area in the world.

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President Richard Nixon, facing growing opposition to the Vietnam War, knew that sending U. combat troops into this volatile region would not be politically feasible.

By the early 1970s, antiwar sentiment had lessened, due in part to Nixon’s Vietnamization program, whereby the reliance on South Vietnamese conscripts and a dramatically increased air war had minimized American casualties.

Washington wants neither a victory by a radical Kurdish movement in the north nor a successful rebellion in the south of the country, where an Iranian-backed Shiite Muslim movement has challenged the authority of the Sunni Muslim-dominated government in Baghdad.

At the same time, the totalitarian nature of the Iraqi regime renders prospects for internal change unlikely, at least as long as the population is suffering so much economic hardship from the sanctions.

The British had been the dominant power in the Persian Gulf for most of the 20th century, but—in recognition of their decline as a major world power—they announced their military withdrawal from the region in 1969.

The United States, which had been increasing its presence in the Middle East since the end of World War II, was determined to fill the void.Washington downplayed and even covered up the use of chemical weapons by Saddam’s armed forces against the Iranian military and Kurdish civilians during this period, and the U. opposed UN sanctions against Iraq for its acts of aggression toward both Iran and its own population. Even prior to the Gulf War, the United States had thrown its immense military, diplomatic, and economic weight behind the monarchies of the Persian Gulf. Though there appears to be a bipartisan consensus in Washington that there is a clear strategic imperative to maintaining such an American presence, there are critics—even among conservatives—who argue that such a presence is too costly for the American taxpayer and creates a situation where American military personnel are effectively serving as a mercenary force for autocratic sheikdoms. In addition, Iraq’s middle class, which would have most likely formed the political force capable of overthrowing Saddam’s regime, has been reduced to penury. officials have stated that sanctions would remain even if Iraq complied with United Nations inspectors, giving the Iraqi regime virtually no incentive to comply. Nor have such air strikes eliminated or reduced the country’s biological weapons capability. also usurped UN Security Council authority with a series of air strikes against Iraq in September 1996, justifying them on the grounds that Iraqi forces had illegally moved into Kurdish-populated areas of the country that had been under UN protection since Saddam’s brutal repression of the Kurds at the end of the Gulf War.It was only after Iraq’s invasion of the oil-rich, pro-Western emirate of Kuwait in August 1990 that Saddam Hussein’s regime suddenly became demonized in the eyes of U. Though they rule over less than 10% of the Arab world’s total population, these regimes control most of its wealth. The financial costs are extraordinary—running between and billion annually, according to conservative estimates—and are shared by the U. Most Persian Gulf Arabs and their leaders felt threatened after Iraq’s seizure of Kuwait and were grateful for the strong U. leadership in the 1991 war against Saddam Hussein’s regime. Gulf Arabs, and even some of their rulers, cannot shake the sense that the war was not fought for international law, self-determination, and human rights, as the Bush administration claimed, but rather to protect U. It is not surprising that most of Iraq’s opposition movements oppose the U. policy of ongoing punitive sanctions and air strikes. For sanctions to work, there needs to be a promise of relief to counterbalance the suffering; that is, a carrot as well as a stick. air strikes against Iraq subsequent to the inspectors’ departure has not garnered much support from the international community, including Iraq’s neighbors, who would presumably be most threatened by an Iraqi biological weapons capability. Furthermore, only the United Nations Security Council has the prerogative to authorize military responses to violations of its resolutions; no single member state can do so unilaterally without explicit permission. There is reason to believe, however, that these air strikes were not so much for the defense of the Kurds as simply another futile attempt by a frustrated administration to strike back at an upstart dictator who continues to challenge the United States. Throughout the centuries, Western nations have tried to impose their order on the region now commonly known as the Middle East. policy in all major global regions and a comprehensive reform agenda. In cue: "Waiting in Aspen for the president..." Out cue: "..Camp David alone with him." If time permits, have students watch the entire first program which focuses on the decision to go to war.Suggested questions to pose: As a large group, brainstorm what leaders need to consider before going to war. Some suggestions might be: strategic goals and purpose; military capability; morale; economic infrastructure; sensibility regarding casualities; domestic politics.The most crucial part of the Middle East, according to most U. policymakers, is the Persian Gulf region, where conservative, pro-Western monarchies feel under threat from the radical regimes in Iraq and Iran and look to the United States for protection.The six Arab monarchies of the Persian Gulf are guardians of valuable oil reserves to which the United States seeks access, not just to supplement American reserves (currently around 18% of U. consumption) but as a means of maintaining a degree of leverage over the import-dependent European and Japanese markets.No longer concerned that the region might fall to Soviet influence, the United States is still apprehensive about the influence of homegrown movements that could also challenge American interests.There is a widely perceived, ongoing threat from radical secular or radical Islamic forces, as well as concern over the instability that could result from any major challenges to the rule of pro-Western regimes, even if led by potentially democratic movements.


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