Working as a midlevel Pentagon official in 1977, Paul Wolfowitz undertook a study examining how the United States would defend the Persian Gulf region in the event of a Soviet seizure of the oil fields. However, Wolfowitz also asked a second question that had rarely been discussed by U.S. policy makers: what would happen if another country within the Persian Gul. were to threaten the oil fields? In particular, what would the United States do if Iraq were to invade Kuwait or Saudi Arabia? At the time of writing, Wolfowitz concluded that Iraq not only had the capability to use force against its neighbors but that its military prowess may cause other countries in the region to align with Saddam to protect their own interests. In sum, Iraq had the potential to become a regional power; the United States needed to be strong enough to preclude this. It was not concerns about human rights or democracy that motivated Wolfowitz’ initial interest in Iraq but worries about energy and aspiring regional powers.2


Regime Change Military Force Clinton Administration Covert Action Military Assistance 
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© Maria Ryan 2010

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