Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts Why We Must Act at Once

Why We Must Act at Once

An emergency meeting between the president and his top national security advisors has been called to discuss a large military buildup that our satellites have detected along the Iraq-Kuwait border. The year is 2002, just over a decade after the beginning of the original Persian Gulf war. Soon, the Iraqis invade Kuwait, annexing their “lost province” again. The president and his advisors agree that Kuwait still remains an important ally, that any unrest in the Middle East could potentially endanger our long-time ally Israel, and that it is in America’s economic interest to prevent Iraq from controlling the oil market. Once again, wily Saddam Hussein is gambling that the United States will not act in the Gulf. Unlike 1990, however, 2002 finds Saddam holding a crucial trump card in his hand: Iraq possesses a ballistic missile capability. Faced with this new reality, the president ultimately decides that the United States must maintain a neutral position in the conflict. Iraq is allowed to invade and overrun Kuwait, while the United States takes no action. Instead, the United States lodges formal protests in the United Nations, calling Iraq’s actions aggressive and imperialistic.

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