Fierce or Feeble: Persian Gulf Assessments of U.S. Power
June 17, 2011
Since the conclusion of the Cold War brought an end to Soviet threats to Western Europe, no region of the world has a security architecture more reliant on U.S. power than the Persian Gulf. The U.S. military commitment to the Gulf is substantial for such a small piece of geography. Although hard to quantify now in the face of two ongoing wars, there has been the equivalent of a carrier battle group and air wing in the vicinity of the Gulf for most of the last two decades. Hard to put into dollar terms, some economists ascribe some rather fantastical numbers to U.S. defense spending for the Gulf. One estimate puts the U.S. peacetime commitment to be upward of $44 billion per year,1 and another provocatively estimates it as approximately a quarter of the total Pentagon baseline budget, or approximately $125 billion per year.