As usual, Jude Wanniski’s piece on foreign policy (featured today on LRC) is extremely interesting. He presents convincing evidence that the U.S. sent strong signals to Saddam Hussein that there would be no U.S. opposition to an Iraq invasion of Kuwait over border disputes.
Almost more interesting to me, though, is this remark, “Ambassador Glaspie did go on her vacation, seemingly confident Saddam Hussein and the emir of Kuwait would work out their differences at their weekend meeting in Baghdad. Alas, the emir decided not to go to the meeting, perhaps out of assurances from the Pentagon and Mr. Cheney that he would be protected even without a treaty commitment.” Mr. Wanniski seems to be guessing here. But if he is right that presents the U.S. in the light of the very opposite of a peacemaker. Where Hussein had every reason to believe that the Emir of Kuwait would do the sensible thing and negotiate over their differences, the U.S. undercut this normal process of give and take. The Emir was assurred he could get away with murder because the U.S. would back him up. At the very same time, the U.S. was telling Hussein that Iraq could do whatever it wanted to Kuwait to resolve the dispute.
If true, this means that, very likely, the dispute between Kuwait and Iraq in 1990 would have been resolved without resort to war but for the looming presence of… the United States! This presents the very opposite of the picture that fans of a global hegemon keep trying to sell us. Namely, that a benevolent hegemon like the U.S. will reduce armed conflicts in the world… Reduce chaos.1:44 pm on July 8, 2003 Email Stephen W. Carson