Canada and the Gulf War (1990-1991)

Analysis of Canada’s primary motivation for taking part in the 1990-1991 Gulf War.

The paper presents the thesis that Canada’s decision to take part in the 1990-1991 war was made primarily so that it could preserve its perceived role in a post-Cold War world. The paper argues further that Canada took part in the Gulf War not to preserve its prestige in the new world order but to maintain its survival as a nation. The paper asserts that Canada’s position in the world had been compromised by its active participation in the Gulf War, and the price it would pay for sidling up to the United States was the collapse of the myth of the peacekeeper.
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In the official history of what took place before the launching of the Gulf War, then-Prime Minister Brian Mulroney is said to have played a major roll in efforts to convince then-President George Bush that he needed to get all his UN ducks in line before any attack. According to MacDonald (2002), Mulroney told Bush during a meeting in August 1990 that the key to this was convincing European leaders that it was in their best interest to get onside and not just any European leader but French President Francois Mitterrand . Mulroney also told Bush that, while Canada was a staunch ally of the U.S., he would not be able to convince the Canadian public of participation without a UN resolution.