Dual Containment: US Policy in the Persian Gulf and a Recommendation for the Future
AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLL MAXWELL AFB AL
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This paper is a critical analysis of the US foreign policy toward Iran and Iraq known as dual containment. The objective of dual containment is to isolate these regimes politically, economically, and militarily. This paper evaluates recent American policy directed toward the region in order to place the policy of dual containment in perspective. The paper contains a review of the policy of dual containment itself by examining the writings of the authors of the policy. The debate that has surrounded the policy of dual containment is summarized. In conclusion, the paper offers three possible policy options for the future, provides some predictions of the near term future for the region, and closes with a policy recommendation. The paper concludes that dual containment is a sustainable policy for the region. In the long term, however, it is argued that the interest of the United States would be better served if a policy of incremental engagement toward Iran and Iraq was initiated. This policy option should begin with economic engagement leading eventually to restoring diplomatic relations. For this to become a reality, the regimes in Iran and Iraq need to demonstrate the desire and ability to accept the standards of behavior as established by the community of nations.
- Government and Political Science
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics