The Persian Gulf War

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Introduction

Wars have been apart of this world almost as long as anything else has. Even in the Bible days there are records of wars. There are many reasons that states choose to go to war. Sometimes it is for the expansion of a nation or state, other times it is for financial gains, and it also could be for security or defense purposes. Whatever the case may be, wars have been apart of human life and will always be. There were no differences when it came to the Persian Gulf War. This war involved the United States, Iraq, and Kuwait. When trying to determine the purpose behind this war I chose to view it from a comparison of both the realist and liberalist views on the war.

The Case

The Persian Gulf War stemmed from tension over long-term border issues and oil possession disputes between Iraq and Kuwait. Iraq had long claimed Kuwait to be part of Iraq. Kuwait was part of the Ottoman Empire until 1899 when it asked for, and received, British protection in return for autonomy in local affairs. In 1961 when Britain granted Kuwait independence, Iraq revived an old claim that Kuwait was rightfully theirs since it had been governed as part of an Ottoman province in southern Iraq. Only after intense global pressure did Iraq recognize Kuwait in 1963, though there still were clashes along the Iraqi - Kuwait border. When Iraq went to war with Iran, Kuwait assisted Iraq with loans and diplomatic backing in hope that this would ease tensions between them and for a while it did. After the Iran - Iraq War ended, the Iraqi government launched a costly program of reconstruction. After Iraq had fallen $80 billion in debt, it demanded that Kuwait forgive its share of the debt and to help them with other payments. Also at this time, Iraq was claiming that Kuwait was pumping oil from a field that was evenly between the Iraqi - Kuwaiti border and was not sharing the revenue. Iraq also accused Kuwait of producing more oil than was allowed under limits set by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), thereby depressing the price of oil, Iraq's main export. As Iraq's complaints against Kuwait grew increasingly harsh, Iraq began to mobilize its troops near Kuwaiti border. Kuwait decided not to call on the United States or other non-Arab powers for support. The United States and others agreed not to get involved. Knowing this information, on August 2, 1990, Iraq quickly invaded Kuwait and seized control of the small nation. In the next couple of days, the United States, along with the United Nations, demanded that Iraq withdraw immediately. U.S. and other UN member nations began sending troops to Saudi Arabia within the week and the world - wide coalition began to form under UN authority. Allied forces bombed the Iraqi military and use ground forces to quickly liberate Kuwait (Grossman, 16).

Realism Theory

Realism tends to focus on the struggle for power between states in an anarchic international system. The major actors of realism are the states themselves. Realism presents a realistic view of international relations and focuses primarily on how the world is literally, rather than how it ought to be. Realist believes that states are rational, unitary actors whose aim is to enhance their power and security by all means. There is evidence that Iraq was a unitary actor who, just as the realists believe, fought in order to enhance its power and security. Though, some could argue that the Persian Gulf War was justified, there is sufficient evidence that concludes otherwise. Whether or not the public considered the Persian Gulf War justifiable, the main issue is that it was a battle that resulted in the death of thousands of lives, both soldiers and civilians.

Realist Analysis

The Persian Gulf War was far from being a just war because of all the violence and killings that occurred, while fighting. Evidence proves that the Persian Gulf War was simply a massacre of Iraqi soldiers and civilians in an all out, no holds...
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