This paper assesses the impact of the American–led Gulf War of 1991 on current politics. I argue that an ironic and unintended consequence of Desert Storm was to undermine further the Cold War order that was already on the retreat and upon which rested U.S. international authority. One immediate effect of the conflict was to fuel domestic conservative attacks on Gorbachev, and thereby accelerate the collapse of the Soviet Union. Without its Soviet adversary, American authority unravelled. The lack of order in the international system reflects that phenomenon. The paper examines the possibilities that exist for creating post-Cold War order and who will most likely lead.
Working Paper 94–09, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, 1994.