Kuwait faces serious strategic challenges. It must develop as effective a self-defense capability as is possible; it must reinforce its strategic ties to the United States (US) as the ultimate guarantor of its security; it must do as much as possible to reinforce its ties to other Southern Gulf states; and it must move towards political, social, and economic reform. Regional cooperation offers no near or mid-term prospect of offering the kind of reinforcements that could defend Kuwait's northern border. At the same time, every improvement in regional cooperation will be important, particularly within the Gulf and between Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain. Kuwait will require the support of US and other Western forces in any serious crisis with Iraq and Iran until well after the year 2010. Kuwait has done well in adapting to the challenges of reconstruction, and its economy is recovering, but Kuwait faces the same need to make internal reforms as the other Southern Gulf states.