August 5, 2020

FROM DESERT SHIELD TO DESERT STORM: Assessing Desert Shield’s Power Cocktail 30 Years On. On August 2, 1990 Saddam invaded Kuwait. Desert Shield officially began August 9, but the military, diplomatic and economic response began immediately.

…Saddam wanted more than money; he sought global glory. A speech he delivered in Amman, Jordan, in February 1990 sketched his plan. After discussing the “Palestinian cause,” Western Europe’s decline and the Cold War, “suddenly, the situation,” Saddam said, “changed in a dramatic way.” The Cold War ended. America was “fatigued” and would fade, but “throughout the next five years,” the U.S. would be unrestricted. He implied that defeating the U.S. entailed scraping the scar of Vietnam and threatening massive U.S. casualties. “Fatigue” and domestic self-recrimination would stall U.S. power. A crucial line stands out: “The big,” Saddam said, “does not become big, nor does the great earn such a description unless he is in the arena of comparison or fighting with someone else on a different level.” (Translation: If a minor leaguer wants to move up, he takes on the majors.)

Read the whole thing — my latest Creators Syndicate column.

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