Kuwait–US relationship—a small state alliance with the major power

From hesitant to strategic alliance

Authored by: Abdullah Alshayji

Handbook of US-Middle East Relations

Print publication date:  September  2009
Online publication date:  May  2014

Print ISBN: 9781857434996
eBook ISBN: 9780203859377
Adobe ISBN:


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The ascendance of a new US administration to office in Washington in 2009 is an opportune time to take stock and assess the strategic relationship between Kuwait and its Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) partners, on one hand, and the US, on the other hand. No understanding of US relations with Kuwait is fully understood without juxtaposing it to the wider US strategy in the Gulf region and in the wider Middle East region. With the ubiquitous US presence in terms of its hard and soft power alike, and with the shifting balance of power and the increasing discussion of the US drawing down its troops in Iraq and oscillating between military action against or a grand bargain with Iran, the assessment of the strategic relationship between the two sides is urgent and timely in light of the heavy US presence—in its various hard and soft powers, “militarily, politically and economically”—in the Gulf region.

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