Graduation Year

2016

Date of Thesis Acceptance

Spring 5-2-2016

Major Department or Program

History

Advisor(s)

David F. Schmitz

Abstract

On December 20, 1989, the United States invaded Panama to overthrow and arrest Panamanian dictator Gen. Manuel Noriega. The invasion, code-named “Operation Just Cause,” was the biggest deployment of U.S. troops since the Vietnam War and represented a turning point in the use of military force. However, previous scholarship has not examined "Operation Just Cause" in terms of its global context and its impact on future U.S. military interventions. This thesis asks why President George H.W. Bush chose to intervene militarily in Panama and how the end of the Cold War impacted that decision. It asserts that "Operation Just Cause" was an invasion with global implications and that it had a significant impact on the Bush administration's overall foreign policy. It argues that the lessons learned in this invasion provided the foundation of the Powell Doctrine that would later be employed in the Gulf War, the Bush administration's self-proclaimed foreign policy triumph. Moreover, the invasion allowed the Bush administration to define the threats that the United States would face in an era beyond super power confrontation and justify continued military preparedness.

Page Count

142

Subject Headings

Aversion -- Political aspects -- United States -- Treaties, Dictators-- South America, Manuel Antonio Noriega (1934-), Panama-- History -- American Invasion (1989) -- Operation Just Cause, Whitman College 2016 -- Dissertation collection -- History Department

Permanent URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10349/201608101284

Document Type

Public Accessible Thesis

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History Commons

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