The push for Iraq to invade and attempt the takeover of Kuwait was driven by the oil trade and the reluctance of Kuwait to adhere to the oil quotas of the OPEC agreement. This directly affected the price of oil. The reduction in oil prices directly increased the amount of deficit in which Iraq was operating. Sadism Hussein and the Iraqi regime felt Kuwait was their territory so they had the right to take it back and govern as they see fit. Kuwait rejected these ideas and opposed the takeover. Iraq was an ally of the Soviet Union and they were a huge supporter of the
Palestinian and Arab militant groups this did not rub the US the right way and also assisted in forcing the hand of the coalition. These sort of economic and political issues fueled the fire for the expulsion of Iraqi Troops from Kuwait and lead to the UN Resolution 687, which spelled out the cease-fire and sanctions against scud missiles. Violations of this resolution are what lead up to the war 12 years later. Iraq government was a Baptists single party state that’s leader Sadism Hussein had been in power since 1979.
Kuwait had been separated from Iraq in 1922 when the I-J had drawn the borderlines. Kuwait had been part of the Ottoman Empire back in the day, which led Iraq to believe they held claim to their rule. Other issues like the Kuwaiti slant drilling the oil fields on the Iraq border fueled the fire for the invasion. The US did not want this to happen either due to the fact that the Iraqi regime would have the foot hold on most of the oil producing land in the Middle East. This was purely an economic decision on our part.
President Bush (1) was not going to let Iraq Ellwood their way into Kuwait and control the majority of the oil in that region. He had to do something about it. The moves he made were very realist (hawk) based but they had sense of dove about them. He presented the issues and the plan and got the full support of the allies and went in as a coalition. This way it was not only the US kicking them out on the world stage. It was the world putting a stop to the problems. All in all this was a show of force but the lobbying and getting all the other countries aligned was the soft power aspect of it.
In this conflict I really do not see any way that a conflict of some show of force would have been prevented. Dealing with a ruler such as Sadism Hussein whom was very boisterous and power hungry was not going to go down with out a show of force by the coalition of nations. The only way I might have seen a more peaceful resolution is by way of the Arab League, they had met around the same as the UN security Council when they passed Resolution 660, they had argued against the intervention of an outside entity. They wanted to police their own.
This may have been the solution you would have been looking for. Possibly gaining the ability to influence the Arab league by supporting one or more of the larger Arab states may have been the way in. And the solution to the occupation. So as we can see there were many layers in the time leading up to the first Gulf War. There may have been more peaceful resolutions and possibly bloodier ones. The resolution we got was somewhere in the middle either way this war really did not benefit any one state in particular.