Dual containment in the Persian Gulf: strategic considerations and policy options
Mraz, Jerry L
McCallen, John P.
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This thesis is a critical analysis of US foreign policy toward Iran and Iraq known as a policy of dual containment. The objective of dual containment is to isolate these regimes politically, economically and militarily. This thesis evaluates American conduct in the region for the last 50 years, in order to show how previous strategies culminated in the present policy. It discusses both the merits and problems inherent in dual containment, as well as the impact of this policy on its two intended recipients. In closing, the thesis offers possible policy options, including an analysis of their specific advantages and disadvantages. The findings of this research conclude that dual containment is a sustainable policy in the near term and ensures that US vital national interests in the region are not challenged. In the long term, however, it is argued that America needs to initiate a policy of incremental engagement toward both Iran and Iraq. This strategy should begin with economic ties leading eventually to diplomatic relations. Nevertheless, both regimes need to demonstrate the desire and ability to accept the standards of behavior as established by the community of nations.
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