U.S Invasion Of Iraq 2003 Linked To One Of The 3 Major Theories In International Relations ( Realism , Marxism Or Liberalism)

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Section 1 Realist IR From read now be fa advised to not be rep Where yo relevant c Introduct There are 2003 both internatio the United 2002 argu with Iraq d In addition Construct to Realism have lear aspects o exhaustiv about the hegemon 1) Contin One dime tradition: w there is lit ideologica core idea Hague), w defence a pursuant (and dom Realists g separate


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R Theory a

ding Chap amiliar with o consult th peated her

ou see brac chapter in T


e many way h fits into – nal system d States pa uing that, a did not ma

n to readin tivist, and A m. The pur nt from Ch

of the Iraq W ve survey o 2003 Iraq

ny; 2) the ‘

nuing Ame

ension of th when the h ttle that oth al underpin of the Uni

which proh after the oc to a decisi estic) diss

generally c from those

, Smith and C

ess, 2014.

Theory in

and the Ira

ter 6 of Th h the basic his crucial re.

cketed cha The Globa

ys in which and comp

m. For exam aid for an a as national atch US na

ng this sect Alternative rpose of th hapter 6 of War from a of the poss War. How ‘new unila

erican Heg

he Iraq wa hegemonic her nations nning of the ted Nation ibits any u

ccurrence o on of the U ent, the Un

criticize the e bestowed

d Owens: T Case Study

n Practice

aq War

e Globaliz tenets of R chapter if

apter refere lization of

h the decis licates – tra

mple, a num announcem security s tional inter

tion, you s e theory se is section The Globa

a Realist p ible ways

wever, we w ateralism’


r seems to c power in s and world e Iraq inva

ns Charter se of inter of an arme UN Securit nited State

idea that d upon the

The Globa y: The Iraq

Case Stud

zation of W Realist Inte you have n

ences, for World Pol

sion of the aditional R mber of pr ment in the scholars, th rests.

hould cons ctions of th is to sugge alization of erspective Realist inte will briefly f and 3) the

o confirm a the interna

d opinion c asion, in the (reinforced national fo

ed attack a ty Council es invaded

internation m by powe

alization of q War, 200

dy: The Ira

World Politic ernational not done s

example (s itics (6e.).

Bush adm Realist acco rominent re e New York hey believe

sult the Lib he case stu est ways in f World Po

e. By no me ernational focus on 1 e rationalit

an importan ational sys can do to s e words of d by decisi orce that is across an in (2003: 272 and occup

nal organiz erful states

World Pol 3

aq War, 20

cs (6th editi Relations

so already

see ch.4),

ministration ounts of wa ealist schol k Times on ed the justi

beralism, M udy for imp n which the litics (6e.) eans can t theory mig ) continui ty of Sadd

nt element tem decide top it. The

f Richard F ons of the not undert

nternationa 2). In the fa pied a sove

ations wie s and the c

itics 6e


on), you sh (IR) theory as its cont

this refers

to invade ar and the lars and ot n 26 Septe fications fo

Marxism, portant alte e insights y illustrate im he followin ght help yo ing Ameri dam Huss

of the rea es to go to

e Bush Doc Falk, ‘repud

World Cou rtaken in se al boundar ace of inter ereign nati

ld influenc contention

hould y. You are tents will

to the

Iraq in

thers in ember or the war

ernatives you will mportant ng be an ou think can ein.

list o war, ctrine, the diates the urt in The elf- ry or rnational ion state.

e that




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internatio interests. would see war (and did what i Box 1.1:

Iraq conti has plotte This is a r This is a r their terro

Pre The main need to d posed an Washingt the murde known ‘te weapons However, weapons a meaning US Secre the UN Se Qaeda. T saw al-Qa Qaeda tog bombs… weapons Nonethele match the the nation weak acc In a chapt power po particular


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nal norms That the U

em to supp the conseq t desired in

Bush’s Ju nues to fla

ed to devel regime tha regime tha orist allies,

esident Ge

justificatio ivest Sadd imminent on on Sep er of innoc rrorists’, th was that th

even befo of mass d gful link be

etary of Sta ecurity Cou hese denia aeda’s app gether, en and enoug of mass d

ess, the wi e evidence n to war. To epted wha

ter on clas litics to dis (see ch. 6

, Smith and C

ess, 2014.

are a sign United Stat port this vie quences fo n Iraq. Fro

ustification aunt its hos op anthrax

at has alrea at has some constitute

eorge W. B

on for the w dam Husse threat to th

ptember 11 ent civilian

he greatest hey would

ore the war estruction

etween Iraq ate Colin S uncil. In his als are sim palling atta ough so al gh so that estruction’

idespread was not s o paraphra

at they mus

ssical realis scuss the tr 6).


d Owens: T Case Study

ificant con tes invaded ew. Even in or organiza m a realist

n for War stility towar x, and nerv ady used p ething to h an axis of

Bush, State

war proffere ein of his w he security , 2001 rev

ns. Given th t danger in end up be

r, doubt ex (WMD) in q and the p tate Powe s words, ‘Ir

mply not cre cks… Amb l-Qaeda co al-Qaeda c (2003: 47

belief that sufficient to ase Thucyd st.

sm, Richar ragic natur

The Globa y: The Iraq

nstraint on d Iraq with n the face ations such t perspecti

rd America ve gas, and poison gas hide from th f evil, armin

e of the Un

ed by the U weapons of y of the We vealed the he alleged

n not overth eing used o

xisted abou Iraq, and t perpetrato ll from sug raqi officia edible… Sa bition and h ould learn could turn

76, 477).

the public o prevent th dides, the

rd Ned Leb re of classi

alization of q War, 200

a state’s p out the co of major c

h as the UN ve, might c

a and to su d nuclear w to murder

he civilised ng to threa

nion Addres

US and its f mass des est. The att intent of te links betw hrowing Sa on the Wes

ut the exist there was rs of the 9/

ggesting ot ls deny ac addam bec hatred are how to bui to Iraq for

justificatio he US com strong did

bow draws ical realism

World Pol 3

ursuit of m nsent of th riticism of N), the Bus continues t

pport terro weapons fo thousands

d world. Sta ten the pe

ss, 2002.

major ally struction, w tacks on N

errorists to ween the Ira addam and stern home

tence of lar little evide /11 attacks herwise in cusations came more enough to ld more so help in acq

on for war s mmander-in

what they

on Thucyd m and of th

itics 6e

material nat he United N the justific sh adminis to ‘make ri

or. The Iraq or over a d s of its citiz ates like th

eace of the

y Britain wa which they New York a

wreak hav raqi regime d removing eland by te

rge stockp nce that th s. This did a present of ties with e intereste o bring Iraq ophisticate quiring exp

simply did n-chief from willed and

dides’ trea he Iraq war

tional Nations ations for

stration ight’.

qi regime decade. zens… hese, and world.

as the argued

and voc with e and g the errorists.

piles of here was not stop ation to h al- ed as he q and al- d pertise on

not m taking d the

tment of r in




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Box 1.2:

Anglo-Am features – modern re interests i and how i intended. conseque

Ric Discipline Lebow’s a of structu power in h well as of 2) ‘Realis In an essa Charles K in the pur understan emerges administra in the effo power tha guarantor unable to The Bush terms. In Bush stat announce governme United Na ours’ (Bus


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Classical merican inte – really pat ealists are intelligently it can read The third

ences of ch

chard Ned e and Diver

assessmen ral realism historical a f the divers

sm and the

ay that orig Krauthamm rsuit of glob ndings of h other powe ation want ort to achie at favours f r of interna see or res

h administr an addres

ted that ‘so ed that they ents share ations Secu sh, 2003: 5

, Smith and C

ess, 2014.

Realism a ervention t thologies – largely ob

y and cohe dily lead to has to do w hoosing tho

Lebow, “C rsity, 2007

nt of the Ira m. His analy and dramat sity of the R

e New Uni

ginally app mer called f bal ends. T how the inte ers will ine to dissuad

eve, in the freedom’. T

ational peac spond to em

ation justif s to the na

ome perma y will veto our asses

urity Coun 504).


d Owens: T Case Study

and the Tr o overthro

– that are w livious. Th

erently outs tragic outc with the ch ose at odd

Classical R 7, p. 54

aq war diffe ysis should tic form (as Realist trad


peared in T for a form o This is cert ernational

evitably bal de future m words of th The United ce and sta merging th

fied the inv ation 48 ho anent mem any resolu sment of t cil has not

The Globa y: The Iraq

ragedy of w Saddam

well-descri he first has side of a la comes that hoice of me s with the

Realism,” in

ers from th d remind us s opposed dition.


The Nationa of realism tainly a rev system wo

lance agai military and he 2002 N d States su ability, even hreats.

vasion and ours before mbers of the ution that c he danger t lived up to

alization of q War, 200

Iraq m Hussein… bed by cla to do with

anguage of t are the ve eans, and t values of t

n Internatio

hat of scho s, howeve to purely s

al Interest, he describ

vision of tra orks, which nst it. Krau

d political c ational Sec

uggested th n when mu

occupatio e the war w e Security compels the r, but not o o its respo

World Pol 3

… is charac ssical real the inabili

f justice. T ery opposit the genera the commu

onal Relatio

olars who e r, of the co systemic fo

conservat bed as the aditional re h holds tha uthammer a competition curity Docu hat it would uch of the r

n of Iraq in was due to

Council ha e disarmam ur resolve nsibilities,

itics 6e

cterized by ism but to ty to formu

The second te of those ally negativ unity.

ons Theori

espouse th onsequenc ormulation

tive comm ‘new unila

ealist at when a h and the Bu

n from rival ument, a ‘b d be the be rest of the

n precisely begin, Pre

ave publicl ment of Ira to meet it… so we will

y three which

ulate d is hubris, e ve


e tenets ces of ns), as

entator teralism’

hegemon ush l powers balance of enign world is

these esident y

aq. These … The rise to




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Box 1.3:

The form determina those glob far beyon potentially and unas dominanc

Ch Although as a whol power tha Box 1.4:

In Greek t with powe internatio

Leb 3) The ra Some of t forcefully main argu Mearshei US nation aggressio of massiv work even


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Krautham of realism

ation to sel bal ends. N d narrow s y, terrorists hamedly fo

ce for the fo

harles Krau

the United e, Lebow b

at led to mi

Hubris an tragedies, er and disr nal commu

bow, “Clas

tionality o

the most p against th

ument, ma mer and S

nal interest on since th ve retaliatio n if Saddam

, Smith and C

ess, 2014.

mmer on th that I am a

lf-consciou Note: globa self-defenc s) of WMD or maintain oreseeable


d States fra believes th istakes.

nd America success a egard, eve unity led th

ssical Real

of Saddam

rominent c e decision de by struc

Stephen Wa t. Realists, e first Gulf

on, had wo m Hussein


d Owens: T Case Study

he New Un arguing for

usly and co al ends… T ce… One c is not a gl

ning unipol e future.

‘The Unip

amed its un hat it was p

an Power and power en contemp he Bush ad

lism,” p. 66

m Hussein

contempora of the Bus

ctural or ne alt (see ch in particul

f War, with rked. They

n possesse

The Globa y: The Iraq

nilateralism r – call it th

onfidently d The new u can hardly lobal end… larity, for s

olar Mome

nilateralism precisely th

are the pri pt, for the U dministratio


ary realist sh adminis eorealist sc .8) was tha lar, argued a combina y also argu ed weapon

alization of q War, 200

m’ he new uni deploy Ame nilateralism argue that

… The new ustaining A

ent Revisite

m as somet his America

ncipal cau USA’s trad on to hubris

scholars in stration to i cholars su at invading

d that the e ation of ec ued that de s of mass

World Pol 3

lateralism erican pow m defines A t depriving

w unilateral America’s u

ed’, 603, 6

thing prote an overcon

ses of hub ditional allie s.

n the Unite nvade and ch as Ken

g Iraq was efforts to de onomic sa

eterrence w destruction

itics 6e

– is clear wer in the p American Saddam ( ism argues unrivalled

604, 607.

ective of th nfidence in

bris. US int es and the

ed States c d occupy Ir Waltz, Joh simply not

eter Iraq fr anctions an would cont n.

in its pursuit of interests (and s explicitly

e world n its own

toxication wider

came out raq. The hn t in the om

nd threats inue to




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Box 1.5:

No matter not work,” designed ways that supports. think we h weaponry “Saddam and over undeterra said, “I do He’s been

Co Many rea was there would hav conseque never use Iraq did n chemical him from that have done so, t Box 1.5:

In short, a doesn’t ta reasonab



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Waltz on D r how often ” it works a to accomp

t would end So the qu

have to wo y that they Hussein d again, peo

able. “Do yo o not want n in power


lists sugge efore unnec ve been irr ences of ne ed weapon ot use suc or biologic using wea bombed Ir

they sugge

The Wron an invasion ake a realis ly objective

hn Mearsh

, Smith and C

ess, 2014.

Deterring n the Bush as well as i plish. That danger the estion red

orry about S could not w

did it,” and ople say — ou want to to rely on for thirty y

n with Ken

ested that a cessary. B rational of ear-certain ns of mass ch weapons cal warhea pons of ma raq repeat ested, prov

ng War n of Iraq is st to figure e, and focu

heimer and

d Owens: T Case Study

Saddam h administra it ever did is, it deter

e manifestly uces to: M Saddam H well get fro we’d slam and we he

o rely on th the sanity



a policy of Because re Iraq to use defeat. In destructio s against U ds at Israe ass destru edly over t ved his rati

the wrong this out, h

ussed on t

d Stephen

The Globa y: The Iraq

ation peop for the pur

rs other co y vital inte

Might they g Hussein do om sources him. He k

ear it every e sanity of of Saddam

‘vigilant co alists assu

e weapons the words

on against a US forces d el. If Sadda uction again the past de ionality and

g war in the owever – it he Americ

Walt, ‘”Rea

alization of q War, 200

ple say “co rposes that untries from rests of the give these ing that, be s other tha

knows that… y day — tha f Saddam H m Hussein.

ontainmen ume that st

of mass d s of Mearsh an adversa during the

am cannot nst US forc ecade?’ Th d therefore

e wrong pla t only take an nationa

alists” are n

World Pol 3

ntainment t we alway m using th e United S things awa ecause if a an Iraq, we … It’s a fun at these rog Hussein?” .” I do! This

t’ was prov tate actors

destruction heimer and ary who ca gulf war a be deterre

ces in the P he fact that e the viabil

ace at the s someone

al interest.

not alone’.

itics 6e

and deter ys thought eir weapon

States or th ay? Well, I any terroris e would say nny thing, gues are George B

s guy is a s

ving enoug s are ration given the d Walt, ‘Ira an retaliate and did not ed, what is Persian Gu t he had no ity of deter

wrong time e who is se


rence do it was ns in ose it don’t

st ever got y, that over

ush has survivor.

gh; war al, it

aq has e in kind.

fire stopping

ulf, forces ot already rrence.

e. It ensible,




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Section 2 Liberal IR From read familiar w to consult repeated Where yo relevant c Introduct As noted and the 2 Iraq war a addition to Construct to Liberal have lear aspects o means ca internatio In this cas ‘humanita the notio 1) Iraq an Humanita holds that under thre good only may thrive sovereign may interv (1995) an In the cas remove S it as an ac remove w


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R Theory a

ding Chap with the bas t this crucia here.

ou see brac chapter in T


in the prev 003 invasi and its afte o this secti tivist, and A ism. The p nt from Ch

of the Iraq W an the follo nal theory

se study w arian inte

on of a ‘be

nd Human

arian interv t it is unde eat within i y to the ext e. If the sta

nty is forfeit vene for hu

nd Kosovo

se of Iraq, t Saddam Hu ct of self-d

weapons of

, Smith and C

ess, 2014.

theory in

and the Ira

ter 7 of Th sic tenets o al chapter

cketed cha The Globa

vious sectio on of Iraq

ermath both ion, therefo Alternative purpose of hapter 6 of War from a wing be an might help

we will brief rvention’; nign’ liber

nitarian Int

vention is a rtaken by l illiberal sta tent it prov ate system ted. From umanitaria (1999).

the United ussein’s all efence. Fo f mass des

d Owens: T Case Study

Practice C

aq War

e Globaliz of Liberal In if you have

apter refere lization of

on of this c is ambival h contradic ore, you sh

e theory se this sectio The Globa

a Liberal pe n exhaustiv p you think

fly focus on 2) the spr

ral empire


a quintesse liberal dem

ates (see c ides for dis

matically an a liberal pe

an purpose

States’ pr eged weap

or some se struction we

The Globa y: The Iraq

Case Stud

zation of W nternationa e not done

ences, for World Pol

case study ent. Simila ct and sup hould cons ctions of th

on is to sug alization of erspective ve survey

k about the

n 1) wheth read of de



ential libera mocratic reg h.30). In th stinct politi

nd violently erspective

es to stop t

rincipal just pons of ma

elf-describe ere insuffic

alization of q War, 200

dy: The Ira

World Politic al Relation

e so alread

example (s itics (6e.).

y, the relati arly, there a port eleme

sult the Rea he case stu ggest ways f World Po

e. As with th of the poss

e Iraq War a

her the inv emocracy

al foreign p gimes in o his view, st cal commu

y abuses th therefore,

he abuse i

tification fo ass destru ed liberals, cient groun

World Pol 3

aq War, 20

cs (6e.), yo ns (IR) theo dy as its con

see ch.4),

onship bet are many w ents of Libe alism, Mar udy for imp

s in which t litics (6e.) he previou sible ways and its afte

vasion con in the Mid

policy; conv rder to pro tate sovere unities with he rights of the intern n cases su

or the use o ction; Pres however,

nds for war

itics 6e


ou should n ory. You ar ntents will

this refers

tween real ways in wh eral IR theo rxism, portant alte the insights illustrate im

us section, s Liberal ermath.

nstitutes a ddle East;

ventional w otect huma eignty is a hin which i f individual ational com uch as Bos

of force wa sident Bush the allege r, and for t

now be re advised not be

to the

ist theory hich the ory. In

ernatives s you will mportant by no

a and 3)

wisdom an rights moral ndividuals ls, then mmunity snia

as to h framed

ed need to hat





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reason, so liberate Ir the justific from Huss Box 2.1:

The distin clear. Fut of failing, public-spi

Ro Iraq was n structures has becom the huma There are interventio the test… that would option to s concerns. humanita was launc not design Box 2.2:

It would b lead wher terrorism States’ lon is having military in regardles

Mic 2) Spread Another s was that – entire Mid


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ome suppo raq from an cation has sein’s tyran

Liberal th nction betw ture military may be m rited.

obert Keoh

not a state s were stro me increas nitarian aim

e some imp on. As sum

…. Most imp d justify su stop Iraqi a . It was not rian law. It ched it was ned or carr

The Liber be a positiv re elected requires m ng term ad some trou tervention s of their o

chael Beru

d of Demo

significant j – after the i ddle East. T

, Smith and C

ess, 2014.

orted the B n abusive d increasing nnical regi

eorist Rob ween self-d y action in ore likely t

ane, 2002,

e that could ong, if illegi singly diffic ms of the m

portant obj mmarized b portant, the uch interve atrocities. t conducte t was not a s reasonab ried out wi

ral Problem ve service t liberals ca

many things ddiction to ble providi in Iraq, wh


ube, ‘Peace

ocracy in t

justification invasion – The examp

d Owens: T Case Study

Bush admin despotism. gly focused me.

bert Keoh defence an

failed stat to be descr

, p. 87

d conventio itimate. Th cult to legit military cam

ections to by Human e killing in I ntion. In ad Interventio

ed in a way approved b ble to belie th the need

m to democra nnot or wil s – peace oil – before ing that se hile the oth

e Puzzle’, p

the Middle

n used by t Iraq would ple of a ‘fre

The Globa y: The Iraq

nistration’s . And after d on the rig

hane on in d humanita

tes, or atte ribed both

onally be c he point to timate the mpaign.

the idea th Rights Wa Iraq at the ddition, inte

on was not y that maxi by the Secu eve that the ds of Iraqis

acy if left-w ll not, urgin in Israel an e it require rvice, beca

her wing op


e East

the Bush a d act as a n ee’ Iraq wo

alization of q War, 200

s decision o r the war, w ght of the Ir

tervention arian interv mpts to bo as self-de

considered make, rath use of forc

hat Iraq co atch, ‘the in time was ervention w motivated mized com urity Counc e Iraqi peo s foremost

wing public ng their fel nd Palestin es any regi ause one w pposes all

administrat new democ ould accord

World Pol 3

on the grou when no we raqi citizen

n vention ma

olster state fence and

as ‘failing’ her, is that ce without s

nstituted h nvasion of not of the e was not the primarily b

mpliance w cil. And wh ple would t in mind’ (R

c intellectua low Americ ne, an end me change

wing of it a military int

tion in the r cratic beac dingly inspi

itics 6e

unds that i eapons we

ns to live in

ay become es that are

as human

‘ in that go since the some refer

humanitaria Iraq failed exceptiona e last reas by humani

with internat hile at the t be better o Roth, 2004

als would t cans that t to the Uni e in Iraq. B

actually sup terventions

run up to t con of hope ire other p

t would ere found, n freedom

e less in danger

nitarian or

vernment 1990s it rence to

an to meet

al nature sonable tarian tional time it off, it was 4).

take the he war on ited But the left pports s

he war e in the eoples of




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the region human rig


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n to the be ght. This is

, Smith and C

ess, 2014.

lief that de s a profoun

d Owens: T Case Study

emocracy w ndly liberal

The Globa y: The Iraq

was not jus argument

alization of q War, 200

st a Weste adopted b

World Pol 3

rn inventio by the Bush

itics 6e

on, but a un h administr

niversal ration.




© Oxford U

Box 2.3:

Regime c gravest of chance to would hav heart. And

Ric Some hav this libera Box 2.4:

The new spread of democrac cease bei forces of e through m

G. As you wi contempo broadly, d branch of explanatio resolution problem f other, term governme governme that the e and not b considere willingnes in Brown 3) Libera Traditiona state; the a foreign territories commenta


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Vice Pres

change in I f threats ar

o promote t ve to rethin d our abilit

chard Chen

ve argued al notion of

Ikenberry imperial th f democrac cy and the ing threats economic

military forc

John Iken

ill have lea orary libera democratic f the theory on, argues n and expe for the war med the st ent in demo ent and pu mpirical co etween a d

ed weaker; ss of the U et al, 1996

lism, Ben

ally, empire Roman em policy that for politica ators had p

, Smith and C

ess, 2014.

ident Che

raq would re eliminat the values nk their stra ty to advan

ney, ‘The R

that, as m f spreading

y on demo hinkers also cy. This is rule of law

s… The pro forces and


nberry, 200

arned from al theory is c peace the y, which Br s that demo ect fellow d

between t tructural or ocratic cou blic debate orrelation f democracy in the cas nited State

6; see also

ign Empir

e denotes mpire was t seeks to s al and eco portrayed t

d Owens: T Case Study

eney on fre

bring abou ted, the fre that can b

ategy of Ji nce the Isra

Risks of In

anifest in t g democrac

cracy pro o incorpora not just ide

w are estab omotion of d political e

04, p. 626

Chapters democrat

eory has a ruce Russe ocracies fo emocracie the liberal r institution untries, suc e, make de for democr y and a no se of Iraq in es to go to Panke an

re, and Ira

a distinct t not a state

sustain a h nomic pow the United

The Globa y: The Iraq

eedom in

ut a numbe eedom-lovi bring lastin had. Mode aeli-Palest

action,’ p.2

the invasio cy in the re

motion ate Wilson ealism… it blished in t f democrac engagemen

7 and 8, o ic peace th complicate

ett has cal ollow intern es to do the United Sta

nal explana ch as chec emocracies ratic peace n-democra n 2003, it is war (Russ d Risse, 2


type of poli e, but the B hierarchica wer. Even b States as

alization of q War, 200

the Middle

er of benef ng peoples g peace…

erates thro inian peac


on of Iraq, t egion:

ian ideas i is good na roubled co

cy is not lef nt – but, w

one of the c heory. As ed relation led the cul

national no e same; th ates and th ation, sugg cks and ba s less likely

e is stronge acy, this br s also cha sett, “Grasp 007, pp. 98

itical entity British emp

al relationsh before the the centre

World Pol 3

e East

fits to the re s of the reg Extremist ughout the

ce process

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Baylis, Smith and Owens: The Globalization of World Politics 6e Case Study: The Iraq War, 2003

© Oxford University Press, 2014.

IR Theory in Practice Case Study: The Iraq War, 2003 Section 4 Marxist Theory and the Iraq War From reading Chapter 9 of The Globalization of World Politics (6e.), you should now be familiar with the basic tenets of Marxist International Relations (IR) theory. You are advised to consult this crucial chapter if you have not done so already as its contents will not be repeated here. Where you see bracketed chapter references, for example (see ch.4), this refers to the relevant chapter in The Globalization of World Politics (6e.). Introduction As with the other case studies, it will not take you long to realize that Marxists were the most critical of the Iraq War, especially the motives of the United States and the way in which the occupation and subsequent insurgency has affected the lives of ordinary Iraqis. In addition to this section, you should consult the Realism, Liberalism, Social Constructivism, and Alternative theories sections of the case study for important alternatives to Marxism. The purpose of this section is to suggest ways in which the insights you will have learnt from Chapter 9 of The Globalization of World Politics (6e.) illustrate important aspects of the Iraq War from a broadly Marxist perspective. Again, some of the authors mentioned in this part of the case study may not explicitly identify themselves as Marxist, however, they are certainly radical in comparison to Liberalism, Realism and Constructivism and they are all united in their critique of the United States’ actions. As with the previous section, by no means can the following be an exhaustive survey of the possible ways Marxist and radical international theory might help you think about the Iraq War and its aftermath. In this case study, we will briefly focus on 1) the political-economic motives for the war 2) the hypocrisy of the United States and 3) the suffering of civilians in Iraq through economic sanctions and war. 1) The Motives for the War The principal justification given by the Bush administration for the invasion of Iraq is well known – remove weapons of mass destruction and initiate regime change. Distinctive about Marxism as a theoretical approach is its focus on political economy and the logic of capitalism as the major factors in shaping world politics. Unlike a number of the other theories discussed in Globalization, Marxism does not take the inter-state system for granted. So although we might think of the Iraq war as a fairly traditional battle between a state and coalition of states, Marxists and others suggest that something else was also going on related to the structure of global capitalism. Recall that ‘No blood for oil’ was the mantra of the millions who protested the war.



Baylis, Smith and Owens: The Globalization of World Politics 6e Case Study: The Iraq War, 2003

© Oxford University Press, 2014.

Box 4.1: Oil Wars

The Bush oligarchy wants direct control over a country whose proven oil reserves are second only to those of Saudi Arabia. American oil giants own none of this oil now. How much do you think they will own one year after the war? Direct US control over Iraqi oil will not only put the profits of selling the oil and servicing the oil fields into American hands, but will also put the US Government in a position to effect the price of oil by determining how much of it is put onto the market at any one time and to secure the dollar’s position as the currency of choice in the purchase of oil by other countries (since 2000, Iraq has tried to undermine the hegemony of the dollar in world trade—with all its implications for US financial domination —by selling its oil for Euros). And, as the availability of this non- renewable source of energy begins to decline (it has been estimated that the world has about fifty years worth of oil left), the US will be in a position to decide, almost unilaterally, which countries will grow and develop and which will not.

Bertell Ollman, ‘Why war with Iraq?’

In the words of Michael T. Klare, ‘In the first U.S. combat operation of the war in Iraq, Navy commandos stormed an offshore oil-loading platform. “Swooping silently out of the Persian Gulf night,” an overexcited reporter for the New York Times wrote on March 22, “Navy Seals seized two Iraqi oil terminals in bold raids that ended early this morning, overwhelming lightly-armed Iraqi guards and claiming a bloodless victory in the battle for Iraq’s vast oil empire.” A year and a half later, American soldiers are still struggling to maintain control over these vital petroleum facilities — and the fighting is no longer bloodless’ (‘Oil Wars’).


Although Marxists do not claim that the sole reason for war was to gain cheap access to oil it is argued that the United States has positioned itself as the policeman of world capitalism. Political-economic influence in the region is the most important factor, not weapons of mass destruction. Box 4.2: Why War? Strategic control

In the desperate flailing to contrive justifications as one pretext after another collapsed, the obvious reason for the invasion was conspicuously evaded by the administration and commentators: to establish the first secure military bases in a client state right at the heart of the world’s major energy resources, understood since World War II to be a “stupendous source of strategic power” and expected to become even more important in the future. There should have been little surprise at revelations that the administration intended to attack Iraq before 9-11, and downgraded the “war on terror” in favour of this objective.

Noam Chomsky, ‘The Resort to Force’.



Baylis, Smith and Owens: The Globalization of World Politics 6e Case Study: The Iraq War, 2003

© Oxford University Press, 2014.

Box 4.3: Why War? Links between oil and strategic control

In their quest for global supremacy and a capitalist world order favourable to US interests, Bush administration officials may well have believed that militarily-based strategic dominance in the Middle East, and an American hand on the world’s oil tap, would represent a bargaining chip of incalculable value when dealing with potentially incompliant allies and emergent rivals (especially China) even more dependent upon imported oil than the USA itself.

Mark Rupert, “Marxism and Critical Theory,” in International Relations Theories: Discipline and Diversity, 2007, p. 162 Other evidence in support of claims about the importance of oil may lie in the history of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, the latter of whom chaired the administration’s National Energy Policy task force and was a major advocate for the Iraq war (Rupert 2007: 162; Dreyfuss 2003: 44). Both are former oilmen with long-standing ties to oil companies that do business in the Middle East. 2) The Hypocrisy of the United States Marxists are highly critical of the motives of powerful states and the way in which they present themselves and their actions as benign. As the rationale for the invasion of Iraq shifted as no weapons were found and the link between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda was shown to be non-existent, Marxists found much to criticise, especially when the rationale moved to the human rights of Iraqi civilians. Box 4.4 Contempt for Democracy

Nothing has been heard from the present incumbents — with their alleged concern for Iraqi democracy — to indicate that they have any regrets for their previous support for Saddam Hussein (or others like him, still continuing) nor have they shown any signs of contrition for having helped him develop weapons of mass destruction (WMD) when he really was a serious danger.

Noam Chomsky, ‘The Iraq War and Contempt for Democracy’ Between 1990 and 2003, the United States and the United Kingdom were the main underwriters of a debilitating economic sanctions regime against Iraq. While the sanctions were seemingly effective in preventing Saddam Hussein from acquiring weapons of mass destruction, they had a lethal effect on Iraq’s humanitarian situation. Given the massive human costs, Marxists question whether Bush and Blair’s claims to humanitarian principles should be accepted. Added to this is the high number of civilian casualties as a result of the war (discussed below). In short, Marxists suggest that American and British claims to humanitarian purposes are hypocritical.



Baylis, Smith and Owens: The Globalization of World Politics 6e Case Study: The Iraq War, 2003

© Oxford University Press, 2014.

3) Suffering of Iraqi civilians Marxism views itself as an ideology that has the interests of working and poor people at heart. As suggested in Ch.9 of The Globalization of World Politics, ‘Marxist theories are also discomforting, for they argue that the effects of global capitalism are to ensure that the powerful and wealthy continue to prosper at the expense of the powerless and the poor’. In relation to the Iraq war, therefore, the question is one of human cost, though of course, Marxists are not the only ones concerned with humanitarian cost. (Much has been said about this in other parts of this case study and in some sections of the Gulf War case study, and you should consult these sections for additional material.) By the end of 2004, however, independent security organization Iraqbodycount.net had estimated civilian casualties at 13,000 to 15,000. Within the Marxist paradigm, this evidence of widespread civilian casualties underscored the brutality of Western capitalist states.



Baylis, Smith and Owens: The Globalization of World Politics 6e Case Study: The Iraq War, 2003

© Oxford University Press, 2014.

IR Theory in Practice Case Study: The Iraq War, 2003 Section 5 Post-colonial and Poststructuralist Approaches to the Iraq War From reading Chapter 11 and Chapter 12 of The Globalization of World Politics (6e), you should now be familiar with Post-colonialism and Poststructuralism (which you may hear called ‘alternative theories’ of International Relations). You are advised to consult these crucial chapters if you have not done so already as the contents will not be repeated here. The case study also references material covered in Chapter 17 on Feminist IR theory. Where you see bracketed chapter references, for example (see ch.4), this refers to the relevant chapter in The Globalization of World Politics (6e.). Introduction In addition to this section you should consult the Realism, Liberalism, Marxism, and Social Constructivist sections of the case study for important alternatives to the theories discussed here. The purpose of this section is to suggest ways in which the insights you will have learnt from Chapters 11 and 12 of The Globalization of World Politics (6e.) illustrate important aspects of the Iraq War from some of these alternative theoretical perspectives. As with the previous section, however, by no means can the following be an exhaustive survey of the possible ways alternative theories might help you think about the Iraq War and its aftermath. We will briefly focus on 1) Orientalist representations of Iraq; 2) the politics of ‘accidental’ civilian casualties; and 3) discourse analysis and Iraq. 1) Orientalist representations of Iraq The concept of Orientalism is central to postcolonial scholarship (see ch.12). The term, used by theorist Edward Said, describes the way in which the ‘West’ has constructed an image of the ‘East’ as its Other, the opposite against which it defines itself. Representations of the ‘East’, including the Middle East, have been central to Western economic and political domination. Before Said’s death in late 2003, he wrote that Orientalism highlighted the Western representations of Iraq used to justify war. In his words, ‘There’s been so massive and calculatedly aggressive an attack on the contemporary societies of the Arab and Muslim for their backwardness, lack of democracy, and abrogation of women’s rights that we simply forget that such notions as modernity, enlightenment, and democracy are by no means simple, and agreed-upon concepts…’ (Orientalism 25 years later). Box 5.1: Edward Said on Orientalism and Iraq

Today bookstores in the US are filled with shabby screeds bearing screaming headlines about Islam and terror, Islam exposed, the Arab threat and the Muslim menace, all of



Baylis, Smith and Owens: The Globalization of World Politics 6e Case Study: The Iraq War, 2003

© Oxford University Press, 2014.

them written by political polemicists pretending to knowledge imparted to them and others by experts who have supposedly penetrated to the heart of the strange Oriental peoples… Without a well-organized sense that these people over there were not like “us” and didn’t appreciate “our” values–the very core of traditional Orientalist dogma–there would have been no war.

Edward Said, Orientalism 25 years later. The clash of civilisations that George Bush and his minions are trying to fabricate as a cover for a pre-emptive oil and hegemony war against Iraq is supposed to result in a triumph of democratic nation-building, regimes change and forced modernization à l’américaine. Never mind the bombs and the ravages of sanctions which are unmentioned. This will be a purifying war… Meanwhile, the soul-and-body destroying situation in Palestine worsens all the time.

Edward Said, ‘An Unacceptable Helplessness’, p.446. Post-colonial scholarship also found mainstream Western assumptions about the identity of the insurgents in post-war Iraq problematic. In the words of Tarak Barkawi, ‘The role of the Iraqi people is to want to be free, for only then can the United States understand itself as a liberator. Accordingly, the growing resistance to US occupation must be represented as somehow not emanating from ‘real’ Iraqis. It is very important that the fiction that the resistance in Iraq is mounted only by “Saddam loyalists” and “foreign terrorists” be maintained, for to admit otherwise is to switch from discourses of liberation to those of occupation’ (2004: 33). 2) The Politics of ‘Accidental’ Civilian Casualties in Iraq Discussion question From a normative perspective, how do we assign responsibility when ‘accidents’ during military interventions involve death to civilian populations? This is a more difficult question than at first glance because the meaning of an accident is never given (Der Derian, 2001). Alternative theorists suggest that governments and mainstream society attempt to normalise these events as unfortunate incidents for which the US and its allies cannot justifiably be held to account. Because specific non-combatant deaths were not wilfully intended as unique events, they should be classed as ‘accidents’; the United States and its allies cannot be held responsible (or even criticised). A decision to assign the label of ‘accident’ to an event, with its usually related idea of ‘no fault’, however, can be contested by different and unequal parties through arguments supporting particular social and ideological ends. During the Iraq War, the political and military leadership in the United States sought to portray all civilians who died as a result of the bombing campaign as having been killed ‘accidentally’. In response a number of writers have suggested that large numbers of civilian casualties have come to undermine – if not downright contradict – the humanitarian



Baylis, Smith and Owens: The Globalization of World Politics 6e Case Study: The Iraq War, 2003

© Oxford University Press, 2014.

claims made by the United States and its allies during and after the war. Alternative theorists question whether coalition forces can be held negligent or strictly liable for the accumulated deaths of civilians in discreet pockets – what Martin Shaw has called the ‘militarism of small massacres’ (2002). Box 5.2: Civilian Casualties in Iraq

Just as it is commonly suggested liberal citizens are especially averse to causing non- combatant death, the targeting of civilians is portrayed as something that only non-liberals do in spite of the historical evidence. Based on a quantitative analysis of all interstate wars between 1815 and 1999, Alexander Downes suggests democracies have been more likely to target civilians than non-democracies. Yet the comparison between the ‘due care’ taken by liberal states and the indiscriminate killing by terrorists or rogue regimes… has been constructed as so obviously valid as to be almost beyond question or doubt. Death appears like the ideal accident, where neither the victim nor the agent could possibly have been aware of the pending calamity hence neither can be held to account.

Owens, ‘Accidents Don’t Just Happen’, p.607-8 In addition to the effect of the 2003 war on civilians, feminist IR theory (see Chapter 17) focuses on the ways in which women were disproportionately affected by the sanctions regime that preceded the war, an analysis which could possibly be extended to the conduct of the war itself. Box 5.3: Sanctions and Women

[A liberal feminist study] might conclude that, while few women were involved in constructing and implementing the sanctions policy, women suffered more than their male counterparts, both through direct deprivation and through the effects of sanctions on their homes, families, and jobs.

J. Ann Tickner and Laura Sjoberg, “Feminism,” in International Relations Theory: Discipline and Diversity, 2007, p. 197 Feminists also note the presence of gender-based arguments and constructions in the Iraq war. As Tickner and Sjoberg note, Saddam Hussein threatened to show the US what a ‘real man’ he was, and the George H.W. Bush administration framed arguments of sanctions and war partially on the terms of protection of Iraqi women (Tickner and Sjoberg, 2007, p. 197). 3) Discourse Analysis and Iraq A major strength of poststructuralist scholarship is its ability to reveal the way in which political action cannot be understood outside of discourse, language and speech. It suggests that the meaning of a particular discourse is always contested and that ‘truth’ does not exist outside of (historically constructed political) discourse. As suggested in



Baylis, Smith and Owens: The Globalization of World Politics 6e Case Study: The Iraq War, 2003

© Oxford University Press, 2014.

ch.11 of Globalization, ‘various regimes of truth merely reflect the ways in which throughout history both power and truth develop together in a mutually sustaining relationship. The way to uncover the workings of power is to undertake a detailed historical analysis of how the practices and statements about the social world are only ‘true’ within specific discourses. Accordingly, post-modernism is concerned with how some discourses and therefore some truths dominate over others in very concrete ways’. A poststructuralist perspective, therefore, investigates how the Bush administration tried to establish the ‘truth’ of its interpretation of the threat posed by Saddam Hussein and the regime’s alleged weapons of mass destruction. It examines the rhetorical devises used in public statements that tried to convince the world of the threat and asks how the discourse about the war was started and controlled. It sees as central to the construction of the battlefield narrative the victory of the White House communications operation in presenting the war to an American audience. It might highlight the Pentagon’s decision to ’embed’ over 500 journalists with US troops during the invasion as a method of creating first-hand accounts sympathetic to the United States. From a poststructuralist perspective, content analysis of the mainstream media reveals how participant identities were constructed and represented in such a way as to make certain wartime actions possible.



Baylis, Smith and Owens: The Globalization of World Politics 6e Case Study: The Iraq War, 2003

© Oxford University Press, 2014.

IR Theory in Practice Case Study: The Iraq War, 2003 Web links www.un.org/Docs/scres/2002/sc2002.htm Contains a link to UN Resolution 1441, which in November 2002 declared Iraq “in material breach” of its obligations under previous resolutions. www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/03/20030319-17.html This page on the White House website contains the text of President Bush’s address announcing the initiation of military action against Iraq in March 2003. www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2003/iraq Although it was archived in May 2003 after President George W. Bush declared an end to major combat operations, this CNN website provides a snapshot of early coverage of the war. www.brookings.edu/saban/iraq-index.aspx The Iraq archive, run by the DC think tank the Brookings Institution, contains a statistical compilation of economic, public opinion, and security data, updated regularly. www.iraqbodycount.net This independent human security organization monitors civilian casualties in Iraq, based on media reporting. www.warphotoltd.com The website of this museum of war photojournalism, based in Dubrovnik, Croatia, contains partial displays of exhibitions related to the conflict in Iraq.



© Oxford U

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