ABSTRACT

Middle East and Persian Gulf   [open pdf - 230KB]

U.S. foreign, commercial, security, and defense interests have long been intertwined with the stability of the Middle East region. The collapse of the Arab-Israeli peace process and the current delicate balance in the oil market pose grave concerns, but these developments will not be the main drivers of U.S. strategy and defense policy in the region. The key security issues that will confront the next administration in this region relate to the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, Iraq, Iran, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Dual containment as an effective and enforceable policy has run its course. U.S. foreign, commercial, security, and defense interests have long been intertwined with the stability of the Middle East region. The collapse of the Arab-Israeli peace process and the current delicate balance in the oil market pose grave concerns, but these developments will not be the main drivers of U.S. strategy and defense policy in the region. The key security issues that will confront the next administration in this region relate to the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, Iraq, Iran, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Dual containment as an effective and enforceable policy has run its course. Political change in Iran may come smoothly or violently, but it will not alter a defense strategy based on acquiring a nuclear capability. Regardless of the means, change is unlikely to lead to major reversals in Tehran's foreign and security policies. U.S. policy in the region, including the defeat of Iraq, the liberation of Kuwait, and the successes of the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) inspectors, has achieved impressive results, but it may also be a victim of its success. Ten years after Iraq invaded and occupied Kuwait, and 20 years after the Iranian revolution that threatened to disrupt the Gulf by exporting its revolution, the Gulf states are trying to resume the balance of power as it existed more or less before August 2, 1990. This transition paper will examine these issues and discuss options policymakers may want to consider.

Author:
Publisher:
Date:
2001
Copyright:
Public Domain
Format:
pdf
Media Type:
application/pdf
Source:
Strategic Challenges for the Bush Administration: Perspectives from the Institute for National Strategic Studies, p.23-36
URL:
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