Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2307/4236
Title: "Who can harness history?" America's quest for world order : the Gulf crisis and the making of the Post-Cold War era, 1990-1992
Authors: Pagliarulo, Diego
metadata.dc.contributor.advisor: Nuti, Leopoldo
Issue Date: 29-Apr-2011
Publisher: Università degli studi Roma Tre
Abstract: The purpose of this dissertation is to analyze the Gulf crisis of 1990-91 and its aftermath through the prism of how it served as a test and a defining moment for US foreign policy in the post-Cold War era, in terms of both how to articulate America's global leadership and how to understand the key challenges of contemporary international security. Based on extensive research on newlyavailable archival evidence from the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, this piece of research examines how the policies taken by President George H.W. Bush and his national security staff in response to the challenges posed by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait led them to the development of a framework for American foreign policy in the post-Cold War era. The dissertation argues that the Bush Administration entered office in 1989 determined to articulate a national security strategy strictly consistent with the Cold War “containment” doctrine of confrontation with the Soviet Union, and that the US contribution to the Cold War endgame was strongly influenced by that conservative foreign policy outlook. Evidence suggests that, although they felt that the Gulf crisis was in fact the first crisis of a new era, Bush and his staff understood the challenge posed by Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait mainly through the prism of traditional and Cold War US national security doctrines, such as the Carter Doctrine and the assumption that no hostile power should achieve hegemony over a region of critical strategic and economic relevance to American interests. The acknowledgment that the preservation of an international system of multilateral cooperation led by the US would be a critical asset for a post- Cold War national security policy led the Bush Cabinet to articulate its strategy toward the Gulf crisis by appealing to universal principles of international cooperation and collective security, and in this effort to conceptualize a vision for a post-Cold War “new world order,” the President and his staff drew inspiration from past US efforts to organize the peace in the aftermath of major conflicts. The promotion of universal values, however, contrasted with the pursuit of some strategic goals considered vital by the White House to the achievement of a settlement in the Gulf favorable to American national interests, especially the dismantlement of Iraq's unconventional arsenal and the neutralization of the threat to regional stability posed by Saddam Hussein's regime. The Bush Administration hoped to circumvent these crucial political and strategic dilemmas by adopting a military strategy that appeared to be capable of achieving the national goals in a way that made them justifiable as instrumental to the pursuit of the universally endorsed objectives of liberating Kuwait and minimize casualties. The US-led military campaign failed to create all the political outcomes the White House was hoping for, and eventually the President and his advisers resolved to content themselves of a limited but outstanding military success which boosted US global standing. The Bush Cabinet, however, was not prepared to foreswear its desire to achieve all the goals it had judged necessary to achieve a satisfying settlement of the conflict with Saddam's Iraq. Such an attitude forced the Administration to divert increasing political and diplomatic resources from the pursuit of other long term objectives which appeared within reach in the aftermath of the Gulf War, such as the achievement of a sustainable and cooperative regional order in the Gulf and the promotion of a settlement to other long-standing conflicts in the Middle east. This dissertation argues that such an over-ambitious attitude was the result of the combination between the Bush Administration's original conservative political outlook and its assessment of the implications of America's emerging status as the only remaining superpower. The dissertation finally notes that, despite its costs in terms of legitimacy of, and support for, US global leadership, the foreign policy template developed by the George H.W. Bush Administration turned out to be appealing in the view of subsequent American Presidents and national security teams as well, and represents one of the most relevant legacies of the Gulf War experience to the making of post-Cold Was US grand strategy.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2307/4236
Access Rights: info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess
Appears in Collections:X_Dipartimento di Studi Internazionali
T - Tesi di dottorato

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