Rogue States: The Making of America's Global War on Terror, 1980-1994

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Frakes, Matthew, History - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Hitchcock, William, AS-History (HIST), University of Virginia

As the bipolar Cold War order began to fracture and collapse over the course of the 1980s, what would come to replace anticommunism and containment of Soviet power as the defining framework for America’s role in the world was not yet settled. This dissertation traces the formation and evolution of the idea of “rogue states” from the early Reagan years to the aftermath of the Gulf War as a new framework on which to build U.S. national security during the transition to the new global order that replaced the Cold War world.

Over the course of a series of crises from the Middle East to Latin America, U.S. officials gradually recognized the convergence of a troika of emerging security threats—including state-sponsored terrorism, unpredictable regional aggression, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction—into a single growing phenomenon that they called “outlaw states,” “renegade regimes,” and eventually “rogue states.” Libya, Panama, and Iraq emerged as the first poster children of this new type of adversary, each contributing different characteristics to its evolving shape. Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and the resulting Gulf War marked the culmination of this reimagining of national security, crystallizing rogue states into the defining global security threat of the new era while establishing a lasting enforcement role for the United States against them.

As Reagan, Bush, and their national security teams grappled with how to confront the emerging challenge of rogue states, the strategies they fashioned—as well as their debates and disagreements over the merits of military intervention, negotiations, and regime change—laid the groundwork and set critical precedents that would guide America’s approach to global security in the coming decades, from the 1990s to the War on Terror after 9/11.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Rogue States, Terrorism, Counterterrorism, Weapons of Mass Destruction, WMD, Global War on Terror, Reagan, Bush, Shultz, Thatcher, Grand Strategy, Post-Cold War, New World Order, Osirak, Falklands War, Libya, Qadhafi, Qaddafi, Panama, Noriega, Iraq, Saddam Hussein, Gulf War, Regime Change, National Security, Global Security
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