Arms and Oil: U.S. Military Strategy and the Persian Gulf

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Brookings Institution Press, Dec 1, 2010 - Political Science - 210 pages
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In 1979, after a decade of enormous increases in the price of oil, U.S. influence in the oil-rich Persian Gulf region declined sharply. Early in the year the Iranian revolution replaced the shah, the principal pro-American leader in the region, with rulers hostile to the United States and to its remaining friends around the Gulf. In December Soviet troops moved into Afghanistan, bringing the Soviets closer to the Gulf and the Indian Ocean. In the United States these events spurred the announcement of the Carter Doctrine and the creation of a new military command to handle Gulf crises. Yet the United States established no new fighting forces, and U.S. friends around the Gulf proved less willing than the shah of Iran to host a U.S. military presence. Thus debate has continued about whether and how the United States can secure important interests in the Gulf region.

In this book Thomas L. McNaugher offers a military strategy that integrates U.S. forces into the security framework that already exists in the region. He suggests that the United States should encourage Jordan, Pakistan, Great Britain, and others to continue their historical involvement in Gulf security, especially in such areas as internal security where U.S. forces are no better equipped than theirs and where U.S. participation may undermine the legitimacy of local rulers. In turn, the United States should focus on protecting the oil-rich states of the Arabian peninsula from external attack and on deterring further Soviet encroachment in the region. These missions demand an increase in the agility, rather than the size, of U.S. forces. But the more important requirement, McNaugher argues, is for skillfully blending U.S. military strategy into a diplomacy that exploits, rather than needlessly upsets, regional security mechanisms.


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US Security Policy and the Persian Gulf
The Soviet Military Threat to the Gulf
Toward a US Strategy and Force Posture
The Components of Peninsular Security
The Local Approach to Military Security
Toward a Flexible US Security Policy
US Military Policy in Its Strategic Context
The Gulf Cooperation Councils Forces 1984

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Page xi - McNaugher offers a military strategy for the Gulf that seeks to balance the risks of overinvolvement against the risks of neglect. The author, a research associate in the Brookings Foreign Policy Studies program, believes that the United States must cultivate the traditional security mechanisms of the states on the Arabian Peninsula, and he encourages cooperation with allies like Great Britain and France that historically have been involved in Gulf security. He argues that the United States should...

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About the author (2010)

Thomas L. McNaugher is a research associate in the Foreign Policy Studies program at the Brookings Institution.

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