The Gulf: The Bush Presidencies and the Middle East

The Gulf: The Bush Presidencies and the Middle East

The Gulf: The Bush Presidencies and the Middle East

The Gulf: The Bush Presidencies and the Middle East

Excerpt

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. Both Bushes left a significant foreign policy legacy; both led the country into wars that would come to define the post–cold war era. And yet, these presidencies were very different, particularly in their conduct of foreign policy; the idea that George W. Bush’s presidency was a continuation of George H. W. Bush’s was quickly dispelled. What, then, are we to make of these two presidents, particularly in foreign policy, the area in which, arguably, each left an indelible mark?

The twelve years of the George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush presidencies brought monumental changes to the world stage and highlighted important differences in policy, warranting a comparison. The changes that took place from 1989 to 1993 and from 2001 to 2009, and the Bush presidencies’ responses to them, were dramatic and consequential. Their effects did and will continue to impact international relations for some time. A complex combination of factors shaped American foreign policy during these periods. Among them are the personalities, beliefs, and values of George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush; the foreign policy leadership style of each president; and the traumatic global events that dictated action. While the trajectory of world events in each of these presidencies is significant, this volume focuses on the personalities and leadership styles of the two presidents as the most important factors in determining the foreign policies of their administrations.

The thesis of this book is that personal beliefs and character in the presidency matter in the determination of foreign policy. The way both Bush administrations responded to the global changes taking place was . . .

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