The successful outcome of a war tends to create unrealistic expectations. World War I was supposed to have been the war to end all wars. World War II was expected to usher in a new era of permanent peace. There was in the United States, in the days following the military victory in the Persian Gulf, a sense of omnipotence similar to the euphoria that dominated Israel after the Six‐Day war in 1967, a feeling that everything was possible in arranging the political cards of the Middle East; that after Saddam Hussein, an Iraqi Thomas Jefferson would come to power in Baghdad and a window of opportunity would be opened for democracy, stability, and peace in the Middle East.
As the decadent Kuwaiti emir returned to his liberated city‐state, American policy experts and pundits discussed plans for establishing a constitutional monarchy in Kuwait and a democracy in Iraq, and for launching a Marshall Plan for economic development in the region to close the gap between the “have” and the “have not” states. Others called for structuring a NATO‐type security arrangement in the gulf and in the entire Middle East and for using American leadership to bring peace between Israelis and Arabs.