Guardians of the Gulf: A History of America's Expanding Role in the Persian Gulf, 1833-1992

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9780029238431: Guardians of the Gulf: A History of America's Expanding Role in the Persian Gulf, 1833-1992

Palmer traces the history of America' s involvement in the Gulf from 19th-century commercial activity to the Gulf War. He argues that the Gulf War was the logical outcome of America's escalating involvement, but that the prosecution of the war reflected US uncertainty in the region. The book shows how once Britain's influence had declined America was compelled by astrategic and economic considerations to fill the power vacuum. It initially exercised ints influence through the the Shah of Iran, but after his fall in 1979 was forced to take a more active and direct involvement to guarantee the survival of friendly states. The Gulf War was the logical out come of this development. However, the fact that the war was fought only to attain limited objectives reflects US reluctance to get too deeply involved in the politics of the region.

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From Library Journal:

Although the Persian Gulf was rediscovered in recent times--first with the Iran hostage crisis and then with the war for Kuwait--U.S. involvement in the region dates back to the 1830s when commercial contacts were established with Omani seafarers. Since then, Washington assumed increasingly large security responsibilities for the area as Britain's presence waned. Palmer meticulously traces this relationship, describing how U.S. reluctance to commit its military resources to defend commercial interests led the United States to support the Shah of Iran and later to the Reagan administration's contradictory policies, in which Washington condemned Iran for its support of terrorism while authorizing the sale of advanced weapons systems, all for strategic reasons. That the United States failed to realize what price it had to pay for this policy was apparent only in the late 1970s when President Carter assumed the burden--through his 1980 doctrine--for our long-term involvement in the area, a development likely to spread well into the next century. A highly recommended volume for its erudition and cogency.
- Joseph A. Kechichian, Rand Corp., Santa Monica, Cal.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Publishers Weekly:

In an enlightening analysis, Palmer maintains that the Gulf war must be accounted a great victory: "Routing such a large army while taking so few friendly casualties was an incredible achievement." It accomplished the limited goals set by the Bush administration, but also reflected Washington's traditional reluctance to risk deeper political and military involvement in the region. Palmer, who teaches history at East Carolina University, argues convincingly that Operation Desert Storm was the culmination of a process that began when the British made themselves protectors of the Persian Gulf two centuries ago. Describing how WW II highlighted the growing importance of petroleum to the West and exposed Britain's strategic weakness, he explains how the United States replaced that nation commercially, economically and militarily in the area. Palmer's description of Operation Desert Shield/Operation Desert Storm is the most succinct and clarifying yet published.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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