With Friends Like These: Reagan, Bush and Saddam, 1982-1990 / Edition 1

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"The enemy of my enemy," as the age-old axiom goes, "is my friend." Such was the reasoning behind U.S. strategy when the Reagan administration first tilted towards Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war. This same thinking continued and even deepened during the Bush administration up to the very eve of Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait - when the enemy of my enemy proved that he still could be my enemy, too. This thoughtful and well-documented analysis of U.S.-Iraqi relations confronts such questions as how and why the Reagan-Bush strategy of bringing Saddam into the family of nations failed so profoundly. Why didn't Iraq moderate its behavior? Why didn't the United States increase its influence? Might the whole Gulf War have been avoided? These questions push beyond the revelations of the "Iraq-gate" scandal to get at the most fundamental flaws in the Reagan-Bush strategy. Irrespective of the military success in the Gulf War which followed, there are important lessons to be learned about why the war occurred - foreign policy lessons that must be understood as the United States charts its course in the post-Cold War world. Drawing on scores of declassified documents, revealing interviews, hearings held by the U.S. Congress, and many other sources, Professor Bruce Jentleson provides a richly detailed and insightful account of the politics, processes and consequences of U.S. policy towards Iraq in these crucial years. The miscalculations, misunderstandings, and mismanagements will provoke and fascinate all serious observers of U.S. foreign policy.

Drawing on declassified documents, interviews, Congressional hearings, and other sources, Professor Jentleson presents a detailed account of U.S. policy toward Iraq in the years leading up to the Gulf War--and why it failed so profoundly. Jentleson highlights key lessons to be learned from the experience--lessons that become increasingly more crucial.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Based on interviews and official documents, Jentleson's scholarly study charges that Washington's policy toward Baghdad from 1982 was flawed in conception and execution. He argues that Desert Storm was a direct consequence of the failure of U.S. policy as pursued by the Reagan and Bush administrations. In its attempt to tilt the balance of power against Iran with an alliance of convenience with Iraq, Washington navely expected the Iraqis to cease fomenting terrorism, become a force for regional stability and play a role in an Arab-Israeli peace settlement. Instead, Saddam Hussein icreased his support of terrorism, threatened to incinerate Israel, used chemical weapons against Iranians and Kurds and tried to build an arsenal that included nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. The Bush administration continued to ignore warnings of Saddam's escalating bellicosity until August 2, 1990, when he invaded Kuwait. Jentleson teaches political science at UC-Davis. (Oct.)
Library Journal
This book is a thorough examination of how and why the U.S. government tilted toward Iraq during the course of the Iran-Iraq war. Jentleson (political science, Univ. of California, Davis) has served as special assistant to the director of the Policy Planning Staff in the U.S. State Department in 1993-94. Relying on a wide variety of American sources, he sketches a disturbing picture of how the Reagan/Bush presidencies mismanaged an important foreign policy undertaking. Jentleson provides a detailed analysis of the making of National Security Directive (NSD) 26, signed by Bush in 1989. This directive laid the foundation for the informal U.S.-Iraqi alliance in the era following the Iran-Iraq war. Jentleson's book demonstrates clearly why in foreign policy matters, the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend. Recommended for students of American foreign policy and U.S.-Middle East relations.-Nader Entessar, Spring Hill Coll., Mobile, Ala.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393967128
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/28/1994
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 300
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface 9
Acknowledgments 13
Introduction: "The Enemy of My Enemy..." 15
Pt. I Reagan, Bush, and Saddam, 1982-90
1 Reagan, Saddam, and the Iran-Iraq War, 1982-88 31
2 Saddam Gasses the Kurds: Why No U.S. Sanctions? 68
3 Bush's Strategy: The Making of NSD-26 94
4 Saddam's Strategy: Into Kuwait, Not the Family of Nations 139
Pt. II Analysis and Lessons
5 The Enemy of My Enemy May Still Be My Enemy, Too: Lessons for Foreign Policy Strategy 181
6 Premises, Processes, and Politics: Lessons for Foreign Policy Making 213
Notes 251
Index 293
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