“Over the years, the United States had aided the Iraqi Dictator when it served it purpose.”
Under Reagan and Bush administration the United States proved weapons and aid to Iraqi’s dictator Saddam Hussein in the war between Iran and Iraq. On August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait but the United Stated didn’t like that and moved to force the withdrawal of Iraq occupation. Bush was allowed permission from the Saudi king to put about half of million troops in Saudi Arabia. On January 17, 1991, the United States with the authorization from Congress led a massive air attack on Iraq forcing them to retreat from Kuwait. As a kid I remember all the news coverage about this incident. To me, it seem that George H. W. Bush had personal vendetta against Saddam Hussein which carried on with his son George W. Bush.
“Until 1980, he had been in the moderate wing Republican Party, backing abortion rights family planning and the ERA. But by the time he sought the presidency in 1988, he recast himself as a hard-line conservative, opposing abortion, pledging not to raise taxes (in spite of the huge deficit), supporting constitutional amendments requiring balanced budgets and allowing school prayer, and building ties to conservative Christian groups. Running against Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis, a bland technocrat whom he initially trailed in the polls, Bush ran an ugly negative campaign. In a measure of how much liberalism had become delegitimized during the Reagan years, Bush’s main charge against Dukakis was simply that he was a liberal. The Republican campaign calculated that being labeled the “L word”, as Bush called it, would have much the same affect that charges of communist sympathy once had.”
These campaign tactics are reminiscent of the red scare. Technically in the shadows of the second red scare- Bush switched views almost 180 degrees between the time he entered office as Vice President and running for President, seemingly in order to create a stir and take shots against Mayor Dukakis. This showed the strength of Reaganism and I find it interesting to see a person in office change their view so drastically (even though I am sure he is not the only one). Its amazing to me haw they sway to meet the wants of the people; quite possibly not being the best candidate yet altering themself to serve their campaigns.
“While the United States could rightly criticize the violation of the sovereignty of one nation by another, the wholly undemocratic nature of the Kuwaiti regime made it difficult to moralize the conflict. Oil, not evil, drove the Bush administration response.” P.412
When Iraq occupied Kuwait, it meant they had control of a huge share of the world oil production.The Bush administration feared that Iraq would target Saudi Arabia will threat the global oil economy and national security. Bush began constructing an international coalition demeaning Iraqi withdraw. The US gained support from the Soviet Union and other Arab nations, such as Saudi Arabia which allowed the US to send troops to their country in order to protect them from potential Iraqi invasion. Thirty countries contributed military forces ,and other paid for military efforts cost. By the fall of 1990 the showed no signs of backing out and the US moved forward with military action. Bush secured a Security Council resolution authorized the use of force by the U.S led coalition if the Iraq did not leave Kuwait by January,1991. With Iraq rejecting the proposal of leaving Kuwait by the deadline, the US led coalition launch a massive air attack and ground assault on Iraq and, in a hundred hours Iraq finally retreated from Kuwait.
American Empire: Page 411.
“Panama eased the way for the Bush Administration when it decided to launch a much larger military operation in reaction to Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait.
During President George H. W. Bush’s presidency, America has got into several conflicts with former allies and President Bush used this opportunity to further re-legitimize the use of force and maintain a massive military capacity. The defeat in Vietnam left the citizens of America having a very negative vibe towards war but President Bush took this opportunity to make the military strong and have some support from the public. They first went after Panama where they won versus a former American ally, Manual Noriega, and that made the public resistance towards war erode. Then after that, they went to war against Saddam Hussein for fear he would take over Saudi Arabia, which would mean Iraq would control a large amount of the world’s remaining oil. This view fits into Freeman’s argument about this era that war is sort of back and the Bush administration didn’t change anything about restoring stability after the Cold War.
“The end of the Cold War lessened the fear of full-scale nuclear war. But it did not bring an end to conflict or a universal acceptance of Western liberalism.”
The fall of communism at the end of the cold war, and the victory of the Gulf War were crucial events that brought Americans back the confidence that was lost after the Vietnam War. As U.S military leaders got over the Vietnam Syndrome, the Bush administration decided to enforce their military power, despite the absence of any enemies, in an attempt to maintain global stability. However, the defeat of the Iraqi was not a total success as it interfered with Bush’s plans of stability. Massive amounts of arms “flowed into the hands of insurgent movements, criminal enterprises, and terrorists”, making the Middle East an eternal force against global stability and burden to the United States. Although communist power decreased and western-democratic ideology were adopted by more nations, the phrase “new world order” failed to provide global stability.
“In opposing Iraq, the administration and Bush himself pointed to Saddam’s brutality, the dictatorial nature of his regime, and claimed atrocities committed during its occupation of Kuwait (some of which were made up for the purpose).” p. 410
The fifth president of Iraq worked with the United States government before he became their public enemy number one. U.S supplied Iraqis with arms when it benefited them during Iran-Iraq War, as they did in various other conflicts before (Cuba, Vietnam etc.). Additionally, no actions were taken by U.S against Hussein during extermination of Shia Muslims in Iraq. It is only when Saddam’s forces invaded Kuwait, the Bush administration started taking actions. America’s primary concern was oil, not Kuwaitis. George H. W. Bush feared that if Saddam Hussein wasn’t stopped in Kuwait, he would advance on Saudi Arabia and in turn control most of the oil production in the Middle East. To add legitimacy to their cause, the U.S government secured military backing and funding of international community. Iraqi troop were driven out of Kuwait; Saddam would remain president until the 2003 U.S invasion of Iraq. He would go into hiding but soon captured and subsequently executed for his crimes in 2006.
“Running against Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis… Bush ran an ugly, negative campaign. In a measure of how much liberalism had become delegitimized during the Reagan years, Bush’s main charge against Dukakis was simply that he was a liberal.”
Managed by Lee Atwater, the 1988 Bush presidential campaign represented the ugliness of American politics. The Willie Horton ad and the so called “southern strategy” played into American’s racial fears. It also shows how American discourse had started to shift to the right during the Reagan administration. This shift is continuing even in today’s world.
By all accounts, Dukakis ran a sloppy campaign. His decision to pose in a tank in order to seem more militarily informed proved to be a huge mistake for Dukakis. Also, running against a candidate manged by Atwater, one of America’s greatest (if morally questionable) campaign managers, proved to be too difficult for “bland” Dukakis. The Bush campaign was aggressive. All in all the failure of Dukakis to gain many votes solidified the idea of the “Reagan revolution” in the American political arena. The lack of public support behind liberal candidates at this time would lead Bill Clinton, a liberal before office, to run an administration that looked closer to a moderate Republican administration.
“Bush saw foreign policy rather than domestic affairs as the arena in which he would make his mark. Even there, he initially took a fairly passive stance, instituting a “pause” in Reagan’s headlong rush to improve Soviet-American relations.” (pg.410)
George H.W. Bush was elected to office in 1988 and served for one term until 1992. He was the Vice President of the United States under the Reagan Administration, but took a different approach when it came to domestic and international affairs. Reagan looked to improve the circumstances of the nation through “Reaganomics” and many other policies, while Bush looked to expand power overseas. As Freeman makes clear in this chapter there were several conflicts that Bush found himself apart of internationally. First was the invasion of Panama in 1989 and the invasion of Kuwait after Hussein’s rapid invasion into the neighboring country in 1990. Bush would find himself in the middle of many conflicts, but the Gulf War would prove to solicit the United States power in the world especially over the Soviet Union.
“Unlike Reagan, who at least rhetorically made the spread of freedom a principle objective of American foreign policy, Bush gave higher priority to maintaining stability.”
As evident with the New World Order, Bush’s ideal was to keep what already was. The New World Order was almost a return to America’s global standing pre-Vietnam. America was always supposed to be an untouchable force. Freeman mentions how it seemed as if Bush believed history ended. Bush illustrated how prioritizing the continuation of American power would be at any cost, “spread of freedom” or not; vision was not the end goal.
“By doing so, they hoped to avoid the kind of stealth escalation, without a clear, public decision-making process, that they believe had been one of the mistakes of Vietnam.”
There is major change in war the way Americans fight during war. The major life lost and embarrassment of Vietnam has really shaken Americans’ idea about war. America is using more technology in war and will less likely to fight a war if the chance of wining is slim. During Vietnam, American soldiers did not have a way to tell if they are winning the war because they did not know who was an enemy and who was on their side. So they use the tactic of counting the dead bodies to tally their wins.But there was still sadness over the death of American soldiers because we value the life of Americans over the life of foreigners. So for the new attic, they prefer methods that attacks from afar that puts American lives farther from danger. With the new method, there is more casualty from the enemy side which includes innocent people. American military also became more secretive and American people sees less of the war images than Vietnam time.