On September 11, 1990, President George H. W. Bush, father of his namesakesuccessor George W., delivered a major address to Congress that unveiled ambitious plans for a “New World Order.” Less than a year earlier, the Cold War had come to an end-not with a bang, but a ripple-through a series of fast-moving events that transformed the bipolar international system anchored in U.S.–USSR ideological confrontation and balance of power confl ict, into a unipolar, American-dominated world. The challenge for U.S. leadership at the start of the post-Cold War period was to grasp how the world had changed and whether American foreign policy should focus on maintaining stability or adopting new visions. Bush’s landmark speech, broadcast on national television by all major networks, outlined a future of global peace based on spreading democracy, free trade expansion, and governance through rule of law. Nations would share responsibility for freedom and justice-the strong respecting rights of the weak. It was a speech of victory: a proud moment in the life of America, timed perfectly to refl ect new political dynamics. In the fall of 1990, U.S. Secretary of State James Baker had begun to assemble an international coalition of military forces drawn from both sides of the previous East-West divide in the campaign to liberate Kuwait from Iraqi occupation following the August 2 invasion by Saddam Hussein’s forces; thousands of troops from more than thirty countries would shortly be dispatched to the Middle East, poised to fi ght a common enemy. Not all states were eager to join; the American promise of economic aid or debt forgiveness persuaded them. Within a few months, more than 500,000 U.S. forces alone would be deployed in the vicinity, mostly in neighboring Saudi Arabia, a solid American ally. In the brief January-February 1991 Persian Gulf War that followed, victory over Iraq came quickly and easily. Allied casualties were light. Moreover, in managing the fi rst major international confl ict of the new global era, the world had passed a milestone: the United Nations, freed from Cold War stalemate, could fulfi ll the vision of its founders, activating its role to punish aggressors and secure global peace. The United States, sole standing superpower, would lead the way.