Yalova University, International Relations
USA could gain independence in 1776. From this time to 2001 September 11 terrorist attack it didn’t come up against war in its region. In 20. Century, two big world war, which leaded to lose millions of people life, are broke out. Second World War witnessed dramatic deaths. Adolf Hitler, who was leader of Germany in that time, wanted to expand German’s lebensraum due to the fact that which state has big power and high culture; it should has big living space and not only Hitler emphasize lebensraum but Ratzel, who was the grand master to geopolitics, emphasized it. According to them if a state wants to be strong it must expand its lebensraum. But Germany lost the war and the USA is one of the winner states of Second World War.
Cold War is broke out after the Second World War but it didn’t like other wars. The Cold War had two groups which are divided by ideologies which were communism and capitalism. We could see in Cold War different geopolitical points from imperialist period. The USA tried to implement its containment policy against Soviet Union, on the other hand Soviet Union tried to spread its ideology to the world. USA helped the Europe economically by Truman Doctrine, Marshall Plan because of European countries’ economy fell down. Its real reason was that USA wanted to blocked Soviet expansionism. USA saw itself as a world leader after the Britain leadership and tried to fill gap which is the rest from Britain. On the other side Soviet Union tried to blocked uprisings in Eastern Europe because of domino theory which based on like apples in a barrel, if one apple infected it will infect all. We can see this in Czechoslovakia disease and Soviet Union interfered the country. But Gorbachev, who was the president of Soviet Union, reformed in example: Glasnost, Perestroika.
By end of the Cold War, the Soviet Union collapsed and the USA became hegemonic power in the world. Afterwards of end of the war, geopolitical concepts changed. New concepts are used in the new way world. Lots of geopolitical theory are implemented in imperialist period and cold war period but now new world order is constructed by the USA. USA transformed its approach how it can legitimate its action. I want to mention about The First Gulf War, so I just will summarize another two war which are Korean War and Vietnam War. The reason of this wish is that I think if we don’t draw attention on these points, we cannot understand what Persian Gulf War geopolitics is exactly.
Korean invasion was the first military action of the Cold War. By July, American troops had entered the war on South Korea’s behalf. As far as American officials were concerned, it was a war against the forces of international communism itself. In July 1953, the Korean War came to an end. In all, some 5 million soldiers and civilians lost their lives during the war. (http://www.history.com/topics/korean-war) The Vietnam War was a long, costly armed conflict that pitted the communist regime of North Vietnam and its southern allies, known as the Viet Cong, against South Vietnam and its principal ally, the United States. The divisive war, increasingly unpopular at home, ended with the withdrawal of U.S. forces in 1973 and the unification of Vietnam under Communist control two years later. More than 3 million people, including 58,000 Americans, were killed in the conflict. (http://www.history.com/topics/vietnam-war) We can see in here easliy USA lost its support of American people. Because lots of American are died. In this USA had to get public opinion and show its power to the world. It needed an instrument to make what it wants. Persian Gulf was one of the most rational option, and USA used it.
We should remember President George Bush’ speech, which was the hard work of freedom, in 1992. He explained and emphasized that ‘’ Time will not be Saddam’s salvation. Our purpose in the Persian Gulf remains constant: to drive Iraq out of Kuwait, to restore Kuwait’s legitimate government, and to ensure the stability and security of this critical region.’’ (Ó Tuathail, Gearóid; Dalby, Simon and Routledge, Paul (eds)(2003). The Geopolitics Reader. New York: Routledge. pg:137) USA really wanted to construct stability in region or show its power and legitimate its action by these speechs?
When Saddam Hussein invaded his small, oil-rich neighbor in the summer of 1990, the Department faced its first full-scale post-Cold War international crisis. Bush’s foreign policy team forged an unprecedented international coalition consisting of the NATO allies and the Middle Eastern countries of Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Egypt to oppose Iraqi aggression. Although Russia did not commit troops, it joined the United States in condemning Iraq, its long-time client state. The Department of State orchestrated the diplomacy for this grand coalition’s effective air campaign in January 1991, which was followed by “Operation Desert Storm,” a 100-hour land war, which expelled Iraqi forces from Kuwait. (https://history.state.gov/departmenthistory/short-history/firstgulf) Persian Gulf has rich underground sources which is that the region possess more than half of petroleum reserves.
In the war, USA used the media which included CNN and it gave news from theatre of war second by second. CNN exaggerated threat and it served USA policy: public is convinced what USA said it is real thing. One of the big reason of operation was that Iraqi people raped western white woman and stouthearted American soldiers protected her. So, why did American soldiers rape lots of women in other regions? I think, USA just serves its own interest and there is no any protection to anyone. Also, Hitler said that German nation is Aryan nation and nobody knows where come from others. Others are hybrid, parasitic, rootlessness. USA says like this speech, and tries to protect white woman. What about others? Nobody cares them! Remember that: Haushofer blamed socialists, pacifist etc. USA blame terrorists. Who decides whom terrorist are? USA started to use concept of terrorism and it legitimated USA operations in the course of history. After the 9/11 terrorist attack, USA invaded Afghanistan and then Iraq by a campaign against Muslims. In the world, struggles are on the cultural norms anymore.
USA used new terms to its legitimation and it succeed about it. The first military operation after the Cold War was Persian Gulf. It was a playground to the USA. Vietnam War, Korean War and the others effected American public opinion badly, and USA had to get public support again. So, in the Gulf USA showed its power. The end of history thesis of Fukuyama explained that ideologies ended and capitalism is inevitable. In the war, USA also protected West’s supply of oil. Because Gulf serves to the west and if Saddam annex this state to Iraq, USA and other western countries will be faced a big threat. So, we can say that USA’s goal was not to protect the Kuwaiti people. They want to ensure stability and security in this critical region because, if there is happen any chaos it will affect the West and their interests. USA and others cannot accept them. So that, operation did inescapable!
Stability and security is constructed in this region by the operation. But USA have contradictions in its policy. They want to struggle against rape to white woman but they rape other women. Another contradiction was that; it removed Iraq from the terrorist list in Iraq-Iran war because of its interest, but now it is acting against the Iraq like a terrorist. America can change its policies radically. American and western interests should be in the top always everywhere!
When we look at the American history, it didn’t struggle in its region. Other regions are like a playground to USA to struggle. Also, we should mention proxy war. This concepts are used in cold war, and super power implemented that. They used other states to their interest. They supported them economically, politically. In new world, the most important point is public opinion. When America made any mistake in struggle, public opinion don’t support its policy. In an example: USA lost lots of life of soldiers in Iraq in 2003 after that, when Syrian crisis broke out USA wanted to interfere to Syria militarily but American public opinion didn’t want to it. So, USA cannot struggle directly. We saw the same situation in Vietnam and after Persian Gulf. USA lost its prestige in Vietnam but it gained prestige again in Persian Gulf.
There was no any reason to protect democracy or poor people. If they don’t serve American interest they don’t have any means to Americans. Lots of children lost their life in American military intervention. But anyone doesn’t care about them. If an American baby is killed, all of Americans protest and force the leaders to respond to the incident.
After the cold war USA didn’t have any enemy because Soviet Union was the biggest enemy of USA and it collapsed. But USA needed to threat. So, it started to create new threats. Now, USA is leader of democracy, peace, and stability all around the world. But I think USA main logic is that: American interests should be the most important point and to reach them we can use whatever we needs. Geopolitical approach is great instrument to USA. Because when it used geopolitical concept it can legitimate its action easily. In Persian Gulf, western interest are damaged by Saddam and USA started to talk about democracy, stability, protection of western woman and thanks to them it interfered to Kuwait. But if there is no West’ supply of oil or any interests of them, did USA interfere here? I don’t think so! Because before of this time region had chaotic order and USA didn’t do anything. After the intervention, situation will be same. But, western interest don’t have any damage so any intervention won’t be here until 9/11 terrorist attack. After that, a new campaign is started; we are taking a stand against terrorism!
Finally, USA stated new concepts to protect interests. From the early time to end of the history and humankind USA continues similar actions. It can kill who damages its interest. But there should be something to stop USA feloniousness! I want to remember statement of President of America George Bush, ‘’ May God bless the USA’’. (Ó Tuathail, Gearóid; Dalby, Simon and Routledge, Paul (eds)(2003). The Geopolitics Reader. New York: Routledge. pg:138) We can understand in here easily that why USA interfered to Persian Gulf. It legitimated its actions by concepts of geopolitics.
1) Ó Tuathail, Gearóid; Dalby, Simon and Routledge, Paul (eds)(2003). The Geopolitics Reader. New York: Routledge.
8) Flint, Colin (2006). Introduction to Geopolitics. New York: Routledge.