The Merchants of Mesopotamia and the Causes of the Persian Gulf War.
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MIL ITARY STUDIES
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This monograph sets out to prove that Geoffrey Blaineys theory about a disagreement over relative power between nations explains the causes of the Persian Gulf War of 1990-1991. Blainey describes the diplomatic crisis leading to war like a crisis in international payments... The currency of one nation or alliance is out of alignment with that of the others. These currencies are simply estimates which each nation nourishes about its relative bargaining power. Saddam Hussein unfortunately overestimated his nations currency relative to the United States, resulting in an overwhelming military defeat. As the modern merchant of Mesopotamia, Saddam employed his calculations of his power and his perceptions of the U.S. and coalition power and misread the analysis. Blaineys mercantile analogy harkens back to Carl von Clausewitz, who described battle as the cash payment in war. In the case of the Persian Gulf War, this transaction ultimately favored the United States and its coalition. This paper begins with a review and analysis of several different theoretical approaches, concluding with an assessment of Geoffrey Blaineys theory in detail. In so doing, this paper establishes the framework for analyzing a case study. Next, this paper turns to a selective discussion of the history of the events leading to the Persian Gulf War with a review of ancient middle eastern history, the influences of the West during the 20th century, the impact of the Iran-Iraq War, and the events immediately preceding the 1990 invasion of Kuwait by Iraq. Power emerges during this discussion as central to the regions history, particularly in recent decades.
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