Crisis and decision: New Zealand and the Persian Gulf War, 1990/1991.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
On 2 August 1990 Iraq invaded and occupied the Emirate of Kuwait, setting in motion a chain of events that led to the largest military build up since the Second World War. These events, which have come to be known as the Persian Gulf Crisis and War of 1990/91 provide an important background for the analysis of New Zealand's 'decision' to provide military personnel to the multi-national force being assembled in the Gulf in December 1990. Unlike many of its traditional friends and allies New Zealand had not been invited to join the United States sponsored coalition and military force due to the strained relationship that had existed between New Zealand and the United States since the ANZUS dispute of the mid-1980s. However, membership was not contingent upon an 'invitation' and New Zealand came under pressure from domestic and external sources to join the coalition, which it did so in December 1990. It is argued that this decision was possibly the catalyst for a significant improvement in the New Zealand-United States relationship and lead to a much more active international role for New Zealand in the following decade.