June 7, 2006

THE SINS OF THE FATHER (via Kevin Whited):

Gulf widens between US and sheikhdoms (Trita Parsi, 6/07/06, Asia Times)

After the Gulf War, the US was in a unique position to construct an inclusive security architecture for the region. This would have been in line with United Nations Security Council Resolution 598, which put an end to the Iran-Iraq War and explicitly called for the Security Council to address - together with regional states - the question of security in the Persian Gulf.

But the United States' continued presence in the Gulf depended on its military protection of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states against external threats, that is, Iran and Iraq. The administration of president George H W Bush feared that a common security arrangement that included Iran could lessen the Arab states' dependence on Washington, give the leadership in Tehran undue influence and undermine the justification for Washington's military presence in the Gulf.

Recognizing that Iraq's defeat in 1991 provided an opportunity for it to mend fences with Washington and reintegrate itself into the region's political order, Iran aggressively pushed for a common security system that could end the perpetual insecurity that put a dark shadow over the energy-rich region.

But Iran was no match for the US at its unipolar moment. Washington defined the options facing the GCC - to seek a Middle East order with Iran, or an Arab order with the US. By offering the GCC states bilateral security deals, Washington preempted an inclusive Gulf security arrangement and managed to keep the mullahs in Tehran isolated.

America's wars generally end badly -- it may be that democracies, though uniquely skilled at waging war, are just incapable of the follow through required to win the peace -- but few did less good than Gulf War I.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 7, 2006 10:59 PM

What's worse was that for 8 years we had a successor administration that was content to let the situation fester (no-fly zones) in the hopes they could run out the clock and leave the problem for the next bunch of suckers. Which is why I have no idea, other than a sheer love of power, why St.Hillary wants the job back.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at June 8, 2006 10:58 AM

The point of Gulf War I was merely to maintain a military base for us in Kuwait and the other micro-states of the Gulf. If we didn't defend Kuwait, we couldn't expect Qatar to put itself out for us either. And without those allies, we would have no capability to take offensive action against Iraq, Iran, or Saudi Arabia (in the extreme case that they turned against us).

The disaster was that, given the high price of going to war, we should have at least overthrown Saddam. Bush the first gave the Democrats a huge tax increase & their domestic agenda & the 1992 election in the bargain (due to his violation of his pledge); we should have gotten more for it than restoration of the status quo ante, plus 180,000 dead Shiites whom we urged to rebel and then abandoned.

Posted by: pj at June 8, 2006 11:28 AM


None of that was worth a war.

Posted by: oj at June 8, 2006 11:43 AM