Unexceptional : America's Empire in the Persian Gulf, 1941-2007

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Unexceptional: America's Empire in the Persian Gulf, 1941-2007 examines U.S. policy vis-a-vis the Persian Gulf since the Second World War. It asserts that the American experience in this strategic yet volatile region known for its plentiful oil and gas can be best understood as an unexceptional imperial endeavor similar in kind to that of the British, Ottoman, and other empires in previous centuries. Since 1941, the U.S. empire in the Gulf has achieved successes such as Operation Desert Storm and the invasion of Iraq. Setbacks have included the Iranian Revolution and the ongoing occupation of Iraq. Given these and many other events, which this book spotlights, America's Gulf empire has undergone repeated expansion and contraction-a typical imperial pattern. The result has been a cycle of waxing and waning U.S. influence in a critical region of the world. Until its occupation of Iraq, the United States practiced informal empire in the Gulf rather than colonialism. Currently, however, the formal empire established by the United States in Iraq jeopardizes the overall American position in the Gulf, which seemed unassailable in early 2003.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 368 pages
  • 154.94 x 231.14 x 33.02mm | 635.03g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739105906
  • 9780739105900
  • 2,111,107

Review quote

Marc O'Reilly's exhaustively researched book is the first serious effort to review the development of American policy in the Persian Gulf from World War II to the occupation of Iraq. His conclusion-that the American efforts at empire building in the Gulf are not that different from those if its great power predecessors-is a welcome antidote to both the political rhetoric surrounding the Iraq issue and to the pervasive assumptions about American exceptionalism which continue to dominate most of our debates about American foreign policy. -- F. Gregory Gause, III, University of Vermont Marc J. O'Reilly has crafted a welcome addition to the current debate on the nature of U.S. involvement in the Persian Gulf while also providing new insights into American Middle east policy since World War II...Unexceptional will be of interest to those concerned with the current debate on U.S. imperial status and those interested in examining the continuity between past U.S. actions in the Persian Gulf and the current Iraq war...O'Reilly's project succeeds...Ultimately, Unexceptional succeeds because the interpretive framework is both relevant to contemporary debates and a provider of new insights into past U.S. actions without being marred by presentism. H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online, September 2008 The book has several notable strengths...The research is prodigious, and the scope is ambitious...O'Reilly should be commended for his panoramic and bold analysis of the region. We benefit from detailed, area studies work in the field of world politics...His study should inspire more works of this kind. Middle East Journal, January 2009 Marc J. O' Reilly offers a thickly researched assessment of the evolution of the 'Persian Gulf Empire' of the United States since 1941 ... The book offers a good starting point for a comprehensive assessment of US foreign policy towards the Gulf region. International History Review, September 2009 Unexceptional is, in fact, an exceptional book: comprehensive, judicious, readable, and above all, timely. Americans looking for the real story of how the United States blundered into Iraq should begin their inquiry here. -- Andrew J. Bacevich, professor emeritus of history and international relations, Boston Universityshow more

About Marc J. O'Reilly

Marc J. O'Reilly is assistant professor of political science at Heidelberg College in Tiffin, OH, where he teaches courses on U.S. foreign policy, international relations, and related subjects.show more

Table of contents

Chapter 1 Table Chapter 2 Acknowledgements Chapter 3 Preface Chapter 4 1. Not So Innocents Abroad: America, the Persian Gulf, & Empire Chapter 5 2 Initiation: 1941-47 Chapter 6 3 Confrontations: 1948-58 Chapter 7 4 Assists and Reformulations: 1959-72 Chapter 8 5 Insults and Reorientations: 1973-89 Chapter 9 6 Victory and Quarantine: 1990-2000 Chapter 10 7 In Search of Monsters to Destroy: 2001-07 Chapter 11 8 Conclusion: An Unexceptional Empire Chapter 12 Bibliography Chapter 13 Index Chapter 14 About the Authorshow more

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