Going to war in the Persian Gulf: a comparative history of the United States decision to go to war with Iraq in 1991 and 2003.

Visser, L 2014, Going to war in the Persian Gulf: a comparative history of the United States decision to go to war with Iraq in 1991 and 2003., Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University.


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Collection: Theses

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Title Going to war in the Persian Gulf: a comparative history of the United States decision to go to war with Iraq in 1991 and 2003.
Author(s) Visser, L
Year 2014
Abstract Going to War in the Persian Gulf is a diplomatic history that compares a qualitative account of two United States presidents and their decisions to intervene militarily in Iraq. Focused on the presidencies of George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush, this research aims to articulate a history of the lead-up to hostilities with Iraq in 1991 and 2003, in order to compare and contrast why the U.S. decided to go to war with Iraq. Additionally, this research will identify the similarities shared between both presidents as they follow a timeline from their presidential inauguration to the point of military confrontation with Iraq, and the research will highlight the differences in presidential decision-making. Among these similarities and differences are additional concerns that influenced the decision to go to war with Iraq.

In order to explore this comparative history, and to contribute to the existing literature, this research is framed in two ways. First, there is a focus on the domestic origins of the decision to go to war with Iraq. This frame emphasises the domestic perspective of foreign policy, and illustrates the domestic pressures that influence presidential decision-making, presenting a unique perspective of each administration. Second, there is a focus on the diplomatic origins. This frame, contrastingly, emphasises the diplomatic perspective of foreign policy and presents a different range of pressures related to presidential decision-making.

By exploring the domestic and diplomatic origins of George H. W. Bush’s decision to go to war with Iraq in 1991, it can be seen that Bush understood Iraq as a threat to the national interests of the U.S. and assumed that Saddam Hussein’s capabilities as Iraq’s leader were an indication of his intentions. As a result, Bush decided to go to war in 1991 in an effort to curtail this threat. On the other hand, these two frames illustrate George W. Bush’s lack of foreign policy experience and his confidence in front of a domestic audience. In 2003, Bush interprets the threat posed by Iraq differently, and conflated Saddam Hussein’s intentions with his capabilities. As a consequence, Bush launched a war against Iraq in order to curtail, once again, a threat to the national interest of the United States.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Global, Urban and Social Studies
Keyword(s) Diplomatic History
United States
Presidential History
Saddam Hussein
nternational Security
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Created: Fri, 07 Aug 2015, 14:23:04 EST by Denise Paciocco
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