U. S. Political and Military Commitments in the Persian Gulf


1.                  "The Persian Gulf is one of the few regions whose importance to the United States is obvious. The flow of Gulf oil will continue to be crucial to the economic well-being of the industrialized world for the foreseeable future; developments in the Gulf will have a critical impact on issues ranging from Arab-Israeli relations and religious extremism to terrorism and nuclear nonproliferation. Every president since Richard Nixon has recognized that ensuring Persian Gulf security and stability is a vital U. S. interest."


Zbigniew Brzezinski (National Security Advisor to President Carter), Brent Scowcroft (National Security Advisor to George Bush) and Richard Murphy (Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow), "Differentiated Containment," Foreign Affairs, May/June, 1997, pp. 20, emphasis added.



2.                  Frontline: "And it's so essential to us geographically to have them [U. S. troops] there [in the Persian Gulf]?"


Richard Armitage: "I'd say geo-politically. It's very essential that we protect the survival of those states, that we protect our access to the oil which flows out of the Persian Gulf, and it's been seen by successive administrations and successive Congresses as being in our interest to have troops stationed there."


PBS Frontline interview with Richard Armitage, September, 2001. Armitage is U.S. Deputy Secretary of State. He was also Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs in the Reagan and George Bush administrations. Emphasis added.


3.                  "U.S. DEFENSE OBJECTIVES: The United States seeks a Middle East and South Asia at peace, where access to strategic natural resources at stable prices is unhindered, where no hostile power is able to exercise de facto hegemony, and where free markets are expanding. The region cannot be stable until there is a just, lasting, and comprehensive peace between Arabs and Israelis and a peaceful resolution to Indian-Pakistani disputes. Stability also cannot be achieved until Iraq, Iran, and Libya abide by international norms and no longer threaten regional security….

U.S. REGIONAL DEFENSE POSTURE AND ACTIVITIES: The United States military presence in the Middle East includes a limited long-term presence and a larger number of rotational and temporarily deployed forces. An average of approximately 20,000 U.S. military personnel, as well as prepositioned critical materiel, are in the region to deter aggression and promote stability. These forces enforce United Nations resolutions, deter aggression by hostile states, ensure the free flow of commerce, and work with regional partners to improve interoperability and regional nations’ individual and collective self-defense capabilities…. The United States’ vital interests in the security and stability of the Middle East and its unique military and political position give the United States an indispensable role in promoting regional stability and advancing the cause of peace."


William Cohen, Report of the Secretary of Defense, Chapter 1, U.S. Defense Strategy, Department of Defense, Washington, D. C., 2000, pp. 15, 16, emphasis added.