Negativists and positivists alike agree that the United States, for at least half a century, has had several strategic interests related to the Gulf.
Looking back to the 1950s before any of the other GCC members were independent, the negativists argue that the largest, most populous and most powerful GCC country, Saudi Arabia, refused to join forces with Western efforts to create and sustain regional defense systems, such as the Baghdad Pact and its successor, the Central Treaty Organization, despite the fact that Riyadh was avowedly anti-Communist and opposed to Soviet encroachment in the region.
Further, the negativists argue that even after being directly threatened by Iran in the 1980s and then Iraq in the early 1990s, the GCC governments have not been able to develop the defense cooperation arrangements among themselves into an effective military deterrent to their neighbors.
access to the region's oil, which, the negativists believe, is likely to remain a heavy drain on scarce U.
Thus, the negativists ask, "What assurance can there be that, if the United States continues to rely heavily upon imports of Gulf oil, GCC governments, perhaps under less friendly regimes, might not do the same thing again?
The negativists also argue that the GCC states have not contributed as much as they could to political stability and development within their region.
strategic interests, the negativists complain that the GCC countries persist in enforcing their primary economic boycott of Israel.
economic interests, the negativists highlight several areas of concern in addition to the Arab oil embargo.
Many negativists maintain that continued deficit financing by the GCC states could bring them into competition with the U.
Lastly, the negativists are quick to believe that the GCC's efforts at promoting economic integration and rationalization among its members have not gone very far.
Many American negativists find considerable fault with the GCC countries' domestic political systems.