Comparing the First Gulf War to the Balkans Wars In your reading, how did the conflicts differ in their nature? For example, was one a simple case of one state’s aggression against another (e.g., Iraq v. Kuwait in the First Gulf War), while the other conflict was born from the breakup of a multiethnic state after the Soviet collapse? For example, did the legacy of the past, or history, matter more in one conflict than the other? Compare and contrast the “leadership” role played by the United States in these two conflicts. Did the United States take the lead and shape the international community’s response similarly, and did others follow the United States unreservedly? What differences in cooperation do you find in the two wars? For example, did coalitions against “aggression” form more easily in one than the other, and if so, why might that have been the case?
Both of these conflicts were the long-term result of the breakup of empires after World War I.
The Balkan countries had been part of the Austrian and Ottoman Empires prior to the twentieth century. Both of these empires collapsed during World War I (1914–1918), and the victorious Allies created a new country, Yugoslavia, by bringing together at least seven nationalities: the Serbs, Croats, Montenegrins, Macedonians, Slovenians, Bosnian Muslims, and Kosovar Albanians. These ethnic groups, for the most part, had little love for one another, but the country was held together by powerful leadership for most of the next seventy years. With the collapse of Communism in 1991, Yugoslavia broke up into states whose boundaries were disputed, and the results were the Bosnian and Kosovar wars of the 1990s.
The nearly contemporaneous Gulf War was also ultimately the result of artificial boundaries long before established by outside powers. The Ottoman Empire had contained the various Arab countries...
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