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The Gulf

The Gulf: The Bush Presidencies and the Middle East

Michael F. Cairo
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 232
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  • Book Info
    The Gulf
    Book Description:

    Presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush both led the United States through watershed events in foreign relations: the end of the Cold War and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Many high-level cabinet members and advisers played important foreign policy roles in both administrations, most notably Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, and Condoleeza Rice. Both presidents perceived Saddam Hussein as a significant threat and took action against Iraq. But was the George W. Bush administration really just "Act II" of George H. W. Bush's administration?

    InThe Gulf, Michael F. Cairo reveals how, despite many similarities, father and son pursued very different international strategies. He explores how the personality, beliefs, and leadership style of each man influenced contemporary U.S. foreign policy. Contrasting the presidents' management of American wars in Iraq, approach to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and relationships with their Israeli counterparts, Cairo offers valuable insights into two leaders who left indelible marks on U.S. international relations. The result is a fresh analysis of the singular role the executive office plays in shaping foreign policy.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-3673-8
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-ix)
  3. List of Maps
    (pp. x-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    Prior to 2000, the casual observer of politics might have named the Kennedys as the most important contemporary American political dynasty. However, with the election of George W. Bush to the presidency, eight years after his father had held the office, no one could deny the power and influence of the Bush family on the American political scene. Both Bushes left a significant foreign policy legacy; both led the country into wars that would come to define the post–cold war era. And yet, these presidencies were very different, particularly in their conduct of foreign policy; the idea that George...

  6. 1 Formative Experiences
    (pp. 13-26)

    Forty-four men have served as president of the United States of America. They have led in times of war and peace, of economic hardship and plenty. For both George Bushes, serving as commander in chief epitomized their roles in the presidency. Both men faced crises and both men used the armed forces in dealing with those crises. One of the premises of this book is that the formative experiences of a president provide a context for greater understanding of a president’s approach to the challenges the world presents. Thus, we must begin with an examination of the formative years of...

  7. 2 Beliefs and Style
    (pp. 27-42)

    While foreign policy is invariably the result of numerous factors, the president occupies a central place in the foreign policy process. As Rahm Emanuel, former chief of staff to President Barack Obama, has explained, “Every president is different and presidents define their presidency.”¹ The personality of a president is unique and has a significant impact on decision making in the White House. The international challenges faced by the United States from 1989 to 1993 and from 2001 to 2009 made the president’s personality of particular importance. Both eras were marked by a high degree of crisis, insulating White House decision...

  8. 3 Boots on the Ground
    (pp. 43-84)

    Since the founding of the United States, American presidents have engaged in over three hundred separate uses of force. However, one could argue that the United States’ use of force against Saddam Hussein and Iraq constituted one of the longest periods of hostility against another country. The hostilities began with Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent Persian Gulf War in 1990–91 and continued well into the first part of the twenty-first century with the end of operations in December 2011. Thirteen years separated George H. W.’s eviction of Iraq from Kuwait, aided by the United Nations, and George...

  9. 4 War and Its Aftermath
    (pp. 85-112)

    Deciding to go to war is only the beginning of the decision-making process. Once the war has begun, decisions are constantly made to determine the war’s course and the war’s end. Presidents must remain engaged, assessing and reassessing their decisions and being prepared to change course. Wars create uncertainty and there are no guarantees; policies and visions that lead a country into war might, at the very least, need alterations. Throughout this period, George H. W. remained flexible and continued to reassess the war, but George W. continued to engage in the rhetoric of absolutes and demonstrated a reluctance to...

  10. 5 Searching for Peace
    (pp. 113-142)

    The manner in which George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush approached the Middle East peace process also reflected their worldviews. George H. W., although characteristically cautious, maintained flexibility in his policy, using the breakup of the Soviet Union and the subsequent Gulf War to attempt to reshape the political atmosphere in the region. George W., on the other hand, saw no need to engage directly in the Middle East peace process. In fact, he viewed the invasion of Iraq as the key to Middle East peace, arguing that a transformation of Iraq would create a more peaceful security...

  11. 6 Comparing the Bush Presidencies
    (pp. 143-154)

    In 1830, John Quincy Adams wrote about the collision course between the West and the Islamic world. He argued that Islamic civilization would not accept the West’s notions of liberty and equality, and the West had a right to defend its values and interests against Islam. According to Adams, “Between [Christianity and Islam], thus contrasted in their characters, a war of twelve hundred years has already raged. That war is yet flagrant; nor can it cease but by the extinction of that imposture, which has been permitted by Providence to prolong the degeneracy of man. While the merciless and dissolute...

  12. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 155-158)
  13. Notes
    (pp. 159-186)
  14. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 187-198)
  15. Index
    (pp. 199-212)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 213-214)