The presence of the USA troops in Gulf region has sparked sentiments of people with different divides citing the effects of such. The war in the Gulf region began when Iraq invaded Kuwait which caused the United Nations to sanction it. This has sparked a series of hostilities surrounding the Kuwait/Iraq/Saudi Arabian border. Recently, the country had announced its intention to withdraw from Iraq war, and this would cause both positive and negative effects. According to Truver (2012), the presence of the US troops in Arabian Gulf is of great benefits both to the US economy and the nations within Gulf region. The US has many reasons for involvement in this conflict one of them being the economic benefits of oil reserves. Secondly, the American nation feared the possibility of Iraq making nuclear weapons that would ultimately destroy other opposing nations. Despite the above reasons, the recent announcement by the US to withdraw its troops from Iraq is likely to be based on some domestic interests. The conflict in the Gulf region has been costly to American nation in terms of the many lives that have been lost, huge amount of money spent, and the environmental degradation. The withdrawing from the Arabian Gulf region is of the national interest of American.
The justification for continuation in the Gulf region has been ill-conceived. It is undeniable that the Persian Gulf in the current state is insecure and unstable. Thus, the actual reality is that the presence of the US troops has contributed to the continual instability within the region. Presently, it is clear what the US military troops are doing in the Gulf region. This paper seeks to assert reasons why withdrawing the US from the Gulf region is for the benefit of American economy. The first reason that would be extensively discussed in support of the above claim is the reduced expenses on military personnel, infrastructure, and reducing the Navy’s burden. This would also curb the increased defiance from the Iran which has made the war to lose its economic meaning but rather spin into political and military threats. Secondly, the move is intended to demilitarize various elements of American foreign policy and be able to establish normal relationship with many nations as it was before the involvement in the war in 1990. Lastly, there is a need to preserve American identity, which is vital to Americans and thousands of people that have died since the war began in 1990.
Reduced Expenses on Military Personnel, Infrastructure, and Reducing the Pressure on the Navy
It is believed the involvement of the US in Gulf region has continued to spark defiance from the Iran who feels that they need to prove their military prowess to the United Nations. It is apparent that the expenses going towards the conflict in the Gulf region have become the status quo, which is not easy to change. However, the benefits of having reduced budgetary involvement in the war would make the government more effective in building other sectors of the economy (Posen, 2013). This does not imply that the US will abandon the region altogether but rather reduce the military burden on its economy. In announcing the intention of withdrawing from the Gulf region, the Obama administration asserts that the nation’s security is at stake by the continual strain in the Gulf conflict. Apart from the costs, the extensive involvement in the Gulf conflict has sparked anti-terrorism. Additionally, it made the regional powers such as Iran to pursue weapons of mass destruction (Weber, 2013). It is worth noting that the US as a nation is well-positioned and whatever happens in the Gulf region will not matter so much to the well-being of the nation.
Predictions made by the International Energy Agency show that America would soon bypass Saudi Arabia in the production of oil by 2030 (Posen, 2013). Their report is based on the reduced level of energy consumption, the expansion in the drilling technologies and the recent discovery of alternative fuel. Thus, the ability to produce their own oil would warrant the need to withdraw from the Middle and focus on building their economy. The country will not depend on the foreign reserves, and thus the need to rein the federal borrowing will have been met. Therefore, it would not be reasonable to continue in Gulf region for the benefits of nations like China.
To return troops from the Gulf region will also be a tax relief on American citizens if the country reduces its military commitments in the Middle East. The hundreds of billions of dollar that are continually being channeled to the security commitments in the Middle East would no longer be needed. Currently, fifteen percent of the US defense budget is consumed by the military forces in the Gulf region (Posen, 2013). This number exceeds the amount spent by its allied nations as well as its adversaries. The military combats in foreign lands have left the US as the greatest loser as many of the soldiers have lost their lives and thousands of civilians have found themselves in serious crossfire. The downsizing the military forces on these sides would also be a great relief of the burden placed upon the Navy. The main reason the US got involved in the Gulf conflict was the need of the gulf oil. Therefore, the oilfield seems to be a solution of getting the oil without having to rely on the Middle East; then, it would be prudent to withdraw troops and utilize own sources (Jones, 2011).
Enhance Internal Security and Demilitarize the Country’s Foreign Policy
It is no doubt that the involvement in Gulf conflict had detrimental effects on the US national security. The country has ended making more enemies even they endeavor to slay them. As they assisted Iraq in confronting Iran, they have become total enemies of Iran, and this is reason why the country suffered a terror attack of 9/11. As a matter of fact, some powerful states have also banded together to oppose the plans of Washington. Therefore, the US has had to spend much money on its foreign policy. This stand was not burdensome during 1990s since the United States enjoyed a powerful position globally thus carefully choosing the war to join (Posen, 2013). With time, the country’s power has deteriorated significantly and policymakers have made dreadful decision on the kinds of war to fight and the mode of fighting them. The implication of this is that the Pentagon has relied on heavy infusion of cash. As a result, the effects of great recession and the country’s skyrocketing debt have rendered such spending unsustainable (Ronver & Talmadge, 2014). Currently, policymakers agree that it is high turn the US shunned its hegemonic strategy and adopted one with restraint. This approach demands that it stops utter involvement in global reforms and concentrates on protecting the national security interests. It would mean that the security force is reduced to smaller number that is only engaged when there is an utter need for engagement. This move would enhance the security of the US as a nation while enabling them to provide incentives for allies to engage their security other than largely depending on the US. With this measures also, the US will only spend its resources on issues that are of dire need or those that pose international threat. Ultimately, the US’ security and prosperity will be preserved for the long time (Truver, 2012).
Even though the US has had a history of inherent security advantages, its continual engagement of militarized foreign policy is threatening its security base. The rivals have resorted to the state known as ‘soft balancing’. This is a scenario where the rivals opt for diplomatic opposition. Many times Russia and China have used the liberal institution to make the US actions appear illegitimate. For example, in 1999, two nations in the United Nations Security Council utilized their veto powers to hinder the progress of west resolutions of bombing in Kosovo and also secretly frustrated the US plans to invade Iraq (Posen, 2013). Most recently, the rival nations have slowed the efforts of the west to isolate Syria following the recent terrorists attack developments. Russia and China have also worked due to Shanghai Cooperation History that it became the common threat of the US as a greater power economy has driven other unnatural economies to partner in curbing such strong powers.
American hegemony strategy has sparked other forms of balancing from both rival and ally nations which have seriously compromised the US foreign policy. For instance, China has worked so hard in upgrading its military system. Russia has had to dispose its modern weapons such as diesel-electric submarines, fighter aircraft, and surface-air missiles. On the other hand, the rivals such as North Korea and Iran have resorted to nuclear weapons as an effort to counter the overwhelming fighting power of the US. Ideally, it is the military prowess of the US that has sparked such responses from these nations (Posen, 2013). It is anticipated that if the US does not desist from its hegemonic strategy, then the emerging economies will also be stirred to convert their wealth into military strength. The gap between the US and other nations such as Russia and China in terms of technological and economical capacities is likely to decrease. Currently, China is building its economic power, and it proves to be a serious competitor to the US. Even though China is limited in the amount it can extract for military purposes, it still has enough economic reserves to oppose the US foreign policy and this is a serious threat to a large and great power like the United States. Furthermore, Russia is also noticeable in terms of economic power due to its mass energy resources for exportation (Ronver & Talmadge, 2014).
Because of the aforementioned reasons, it is vital that the US considers seceding from active involvement in Gulf conflict. This will give it more chances and resources to marshalling its strength and regaining the power it had prior to 1990.
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To Preserve American Identity
American has been known for its economical and political prowess. However, the emerging economies are also regaining strength as well as the small states that had earlier been democratized and disciplined by the US. The implication is that the identity of the US as a powerful nation is at stake. As a result, the US military have found themselves fighting stronger enemies than they expected.
The US allies during the Cold war have decreased their military spending significantly. The European nations have reduced their military involvement by over 15 percent after the Cold war (Posen, 2013). For example, Japan is spending resources on grounding its forces despite the growing threat from Chinese rising military power. Many of the regions that had engaged in serious wars in the past have desisted from active involvement leaving the US to bear the entire burden of keeping international peace. This is likely to be the disadvantage of the US as its identity is at stake (Posen, 2013).
While the US spends close to 5 percent of its GDP on war, its NATO allies spend less than 2 percent (1.6 %) (Posen, 2013). Thus, while the US works hard to reduce social spending and invest in fiscal health, it is subsidizing security for other nations which in itself works against their provider (US). Additionally, their active involvement in war encourages the powerful states to engage as well knowing that should they be overwhelmed, the US will assist them. Consequently, the US is predisposed to political costs and antagonistic wars that threaten its identity.
This paper has extensively discussed the reasons why the US withdrawal from the Gulf conflict is for national interest. The spending on military would be channeled for social purposes, the US foreign policy would be demilitarized and the identity of the country as a global power would be persevered. Policymakers have also agreed that involvement in unnecessary conflicts with other nations only benefits those countries to the disadvantage of the US. Furthermore, the main reason why the US engaged in the Gulf conflict was the oil in Arabian region. Presently, the US has a capacity of generating its own oil and is anticipated that it will be independent in terms of energy needs in the next decade. Therefore, it is logical to argue that their involvement in Gulf conflict has no economic benefits to the country. It has only worked to deteriorate the long history of the country as a global prowess. It is high time the country desists from its hegemonic strategy and focuses on building and maintaining its identity.
The strategy that the US can adopt should be threefold: preventing the powerful state rival from upending the global power balance, countering terrorists, and reducing nuclear proliferation. The US needs to defend its territory against attacks from Al Qaeda and its successor groups.