Between the 1940s and 1989, global citizens were held hostage to recurring conflict between the world’s two largest superpowers which never reached a full militaristic situation as a result of both superpower’s capability to impose mass destruction against the other (Gaddis 56). However, since 1989, many states have developed more technological capacity and economic strength, making powers other than the Western Bloc and the Eastern Bloc more influential in geopolitics. Since 1989, more geopolitical power spread throughout emerging militaristic and economically-sound states has changed the dynamics of political relationships throughout the world. This essay explores the Gulf War, theory regarding global capitalism and U.S. unipolarity to describe how geopolitics, today, has led to a clash of civilisations.
Between 1980 and 1988, Iraq had been engaged in a lengthy war against Iran, sparked by unsettled border disputes between the two nations. Iraq, a once-wealthy and prosperous nation, was witnessing its economic strength diminishing as a result of continuously funding a costly military effort against its rival. During this war, Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s largest oil producers, began to fear that if Iran won this conflict, it would create an Iran hegemony that would ultimately threaten national security of Saudi Arabia and its oil-related revenues. Saudi Arabia had loans $26 billion USD to Iraq as a dual effort to ensure that the Shia in Iran would not gain substantial political power. Kuwait, another oil rich nation, had also loaned Iraq $14 billion USD to assist Iraq in its military objectives against Iran.
By 1990, Kuwait refused to simply forgive this $14 billion dollar loan even though Iraq was convinced that the eight year-long war had achieved an oppression of Iran’s growing strength (Watson, George, Tsouras and Cyr 61). The Saudis, additionally, placed considerable pressure on Iraq to begin loan