Unlikely Cooperation: Cuba in the Security Council during the Gulf War

Ethan Spangler


In August 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait. This resulted in an unprecedented instance of international cooperation to liberate Kuwait from Iraq. This study explores the reasons why Cuba, a member of the UN Security Council at the time, worked with other SC members to resolve the crisis when it was disconnected from the crisis and had poor relations with the other member nations. It is Cuba’s unique global position at the time and serendipitous placement on the SC that makes this an intriguing case study for international cooperation. This paper uses the framework of the Prisoner’s Dilemma to test the validity of Robert Axelrod’s Cooperation Theory. Ultimate evidence suggests limited explanatory power of the theory.


Cuba; Cooperation; Gulf War

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