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The Gulf

The Bush Presidencies and the Middle East

Michael F. Cairo

Publication Year: 2012

Presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush both led the United States through watershed events in foreign relations: the end of the Cold War and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Many high-level cabinet members and advisers played important foreign policy roles in both administrations, most notably Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, and Condoleeza Rice. Both presidents perceived Saddam Hussein as a significant threat and took action against Iraq. But was the George W. Bush administration really just "Act II" of George H. W. Bush's administration?

In The Gulf, Michael F. Cairo reveals how, despite many similarities, father and son pursued very different international strategies. He explores how the personality, beliefs, and leadership style of each man influenced contemporary U.S. foreign policy. Contrasting the presidents' management of American wars in Iraq, approach to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and relationships with their Israeli counterparts, Cairo offers valuable insights into two leaders who left indelible marks on U.S. international relations. The result is a fresh analysis of the singular role the executive office plays in shaping foreign policy.

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky

Series: Studies in Conflict, Diplomacy and Peace


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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Quotes

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List of Maps

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pp. x-x

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pp. xi-xiv

Arguably, the Middle East is the most important region in the world. Its history is ancient and since ancient times, the Middle East has been at the center of world affairs. It is located at the juncture of Eurasia and Africa, connecting societies and cultures. It is the birthplace of the world’s earliest civilizations. ...

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pp. 1-12

Prior to 2000, the casual observer of politics might have named the Kennedys as the most important contemporary American political dynasty. However, with the election of George W. Bush to the presidency, eight years after his father had held the office, no one could deny the power and influence of the Bush family on the American political scene. ...

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1. Formative Experiences

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pp. 13-26

Forty-four men have served as president of the United States of America. They have led in times of war and peace, of economic hardship and plenty. For both George Bushes, serving as commander in chief epitomized their roles in the presidency. Both men faced crises and both men used the armed forces in dealing with those crises. ...

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2. Beliefs and Style

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pp. 27-42

While foreign policy is invariably the result of numerous factors, the president occupies a central place in the foreign policy process. As Rahm Emanuel, former chief of staff to President Barack Obama, has explained, “Every president is different and presidents define their presidency.”1 The personality of a president is unique and has a significant impact on decision making in the White House. ...

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3. Boots on the Ground

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pp. 43-84

Since the founding of the United States, American presidents have engaged in over three hundred separate uses of force. However, one could argue that the United States’ use of force against Saddam Hussein and Iraq constituted one of the longest periods of hostility against another country. ...

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4. War and Its Aftermath

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pp. 85-112

Deciding to go to war is only the beginning of the decision-making process. Once the war has begun, decisions are constantly made to determine the war’s course and the war’s end. Presidents must remain engaged, assessing and reassessing their decisions and being prepared to change course. ...

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5. Searching for Peace

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pp. 113-142

The manner in which George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush approached the Middle East peace process also reflected their worldviews. George H. W., although characteristically cautious, maintained flexibility in his policy, using the breakup of the Soviet Union and the subsequent Gulf War to attempt ...

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6. Comparing the Bush Presidencies

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pp. 143-155

In 1830, John Quincy Adams wrote about the collision course between the West and the Islamic world. He argued that Islamic civilization would not accept the West’s notions of liberty and equality, and the West had a right to defend its values and interests against Islam. According to Adams, “Between [Christianity and Islam], thus contrasted in their characters, a war of twelve hundred years has already raged. ...

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pp. 155-158

Writing a book is, at times, a lonely process. It is easy to forget that the completion of a book takes more than one person and that while the actual writing can be lonely, you are never alone. I owe many debts to many people. Like many first books, this one began with my doctoral dissertation at the University of Virginia. ...


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pp. 159-186

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 187-198


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pp. 199-212

Series Information

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pp. 213-214

E-ISBN-13: 9780813136738
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813136721

Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Studies in Conflict, Diplomacy and Peace
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OCLC Number: 830022969
MUSE Marc Record: Download for The Gulf

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Middle East -- Foreign relations -- United States.
  • United States -- Foreign relations -- Middle East.
  • United States -- Foreign relations -- 1989-1993.
  • United States -- Foreign relations -- 2001-2009.
  • Bush, George, 1924-.
  • Bush, George W. (George Walker), 1946-.
  • Arab-Israeli conflict.
  • Persian Gulf War, 1991.
  • Iraq War, 2003-2011.
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