The relationship of the United States and Iraq offers a lesson on various diplomatic concepts and the underlying socio-economic and political ideologies. Various scholars have in the past shed light on the sociological aspects of the existing relationship after the decade-long invasion and occupancy of Iraq by United States. Theoretical concepts of international relations will be explored to unveil the true picture of US – Iraq interaction aftermath. In the interest of researchers, academia and political science, it is imperative that this case is given critical assessment. This issue presents an avenue of intellectual discourse concerning the diverse disciplines that discuss international relations. In view of the social structure, economic policies and political strategies, this debate covers substantial research concepts that are important to ascertain validity and credibility of existing knowledge.
LESSONS LEARNT FROM THE USA CURRENT RELATIONSHIP WITH IRAQ, 2003
The United States’ stay in Iraq has been on the global spotlight for over decade. The question many people ask is what the consequences this has on their relations. Apart from Iraq, United States interest in the Middle East has raised eyebrows leading to in-depth research on various dimensions (Lake,2009,pg.18-9). The Geopolitics of Middle East has been a significant contributor to its overall influence in the global economy. However, its socio-economic policies and political system has been the subject of discussion. Iraq wields a lot of influence in the region, and its political ideologies were being seen as a threat by the west. It is not a matter of retelling the chronology of the US invasion of Iraq, but the impacts this has on the global socio-economic and political position America occupy.According to Christol (2004, pg. 47-9) diverse acts of atrocities under the guise of setting the new global order of democracy was met with mixed reactions by Middle East nations and Iraq in particular. In this paper, it is important to note that the raging debate on the theoretical concepts surrounding diplomatic relations is the center stage for international peace agreements. According to Tate (2010, pg.128-9), the traditional mentality that international relations were limited to specific disciplines is ruled out. This explains the need to break away from the confines of philosophy, sociology and economics as the only relevant disciplines exploring diplomatic ties. International relations theories should equally not be misconstrued as solely for academia. This means it should be given much attention as it plays a critical role in mutual understandings in cross boundary relationships especially in this wake of open economies. The current relationship between United States and Iraq offers a lot of lessons on feasibility of tested theories concerning international relations. It reflects the complex international interactions that are characterized by divergent socio-economic and political ideologies. Kenneth N. Waltz is one of the scholars who assert the fact that diplomatic history has been marred with elitist decision making.
According Waltz, the consideration is on individual state, and to ideological, moral and economic issues, both traditional liberals and classical realists make the same mistake. They fail to develop a serious account of the international system—one that can be abstracted from the wider socio-political domain. Waltz acknowledges that such an abstraction distorts reality and omits many of the factors that were important for classical realism. It does not allow for the analysis of the development of specific foreign policies. However, it also has utility. Notably, it assists in understanding the primary determinants of international politics. He reformulated realism in international relations in a new and distinctive way. In his book Theory of International Politics, first published in 1979, he responded to the liberal challenge and attempted to cure the defects of the classical realism of Hans Morgenthau with his more scientific approach, which became known as structural realism or neorealism. Waltz insists on empirical testability of knowledge and on falsifications as a methodological ideal, which, as he admits, can have only a limited application in international relations (Jack, 2000).The case of US attack on Saddam Hussein and subsequent changes in approaches of managing Iraq indicates two sides of international relations theories. These include realism and idealism key in defining the relations among states and US – Iraq in particular. A realist theory can be seen as a tradition of speculation about the society or states. However, in international relations the realist theory is based on emphasizing the constraints imposed on politics by the nature of human beings (Ikenberry, et al. 2009, pg.93). The realist school belief that national self- interest mandate nations to constantly acquire power for the purpose of security and existence. It is usually contrasted with idealism or liberalism, which tends to emphasize cooperation. The negative side of the realists’ emphasis on power and self-interest is often their skepticism regarding the relevance of ethical norms to relations among states.
Hans Morgenthau is of the opinion that power is the undisputable feature which determines states policy on both foreign and domestic policies (Knopf, 1978). The realist theory is also known as the power or traditional theory which is centered on power politics. It is concerned with an explanation of what happened, how it happened which is used to predict the trend of what to happen in the future. The lessons observable from the case of the US – Iraq relationship triggers further research into the theories that must be discussed to boost the increasing need for International Corporation.
According to Brennan (2013, pg. 139-40), United States wield political and economic power and therefore play a central role in making decisions on global issues. The capitalism ideology has seen the America make several attempts to sink the communism, and this was the disguised intention of America. Military intervention by the US in most of its operation in the Middle East has significantly tainted its image in the international platform. Fingers point at neoconservatives who were well connected as the key architects behind the Iraq war. In regard to Guney (2007,pg.64),there was a political motive behind the lobbying with economic strategies. It is worth to note the involvement of several US presidents during their long stay of US military operatives in Iraq. The intertwining realism versus idealism approach dictates the perception of various people towards the US on how they handled Iraq.
In respect of all facts towards the US relationship with Iraq, a lot of historical statistics can be established. Considering the deteriorating power of the US in 1972 as it was losing the battle to the Vietnam, it is possible that the same may hold for the case of Iraq. The ensuing scenario compelled President Richard Nixon to create an entente which was meant to deal with Soviet Union using China. Although this approach worked, concerns were raised over US alliance with such a genocidal Chinese government. In the words of Ryan & Kiely (2009,pg 351-2) this case is an equivalence of the US strategy of using neighbouring countries to Iraq like Iran to manage it.This was a case of idealism approach that actually cost the US as the global view of the unfolding event was that of using military power to prove a point. All the above cases presented a dilemma to the United States. The attempt to reconcile morals with ideals was difficult. Political scientists noted that it was prudent for US to form an alliance with China, Russia or Britain, but this was likely to taint d’etre raison for the administration of US (Calabrese & Sparks, 2004, pg.125-7). The other side of the argument fronted for moral regime would only be available when the regime itself was existing. This event exposed the diverse strategies of the US to defend its socio-economic and political position in the world against the rising influence of Nazi and the existing Soviet Union. The case of Saddam’s increasing influence in the 1990’s in the middle East had begun to shake US in a similar way and this must have been initiated there sensitivity towards Iraq.
It is worth noting that the arguments posted towards US history in its international relations from World War I combine politics with ideologies. US invasion of Iraq has been attributed to several factors, but the proponents also suggest superficial ideas on the outcome. Taking the case of United States war on the Jihadists, complexity of the ideologies comes out open. In this respect; there are two perspectives of idealists. According to Uslu (2003,pg 308-9) one wing of the analysts argue that by engaging the Jihad in the war, United States should stick to strict adherence to human rights by avoiding any action that would amount to such magnitude during its operations. This principle also prompted avoidance of any alliances with a country which is oppressive to its people. In this respect for instance, US co-operation with Saudi Arabia to pursue its agenda in Iraq is not acceptable. Saudi Arabia’s social structure is almost diametrically opposite that of US and has been noted to give little focus to human rights.
Another faction of proponents argued that US occupancy of Iraq was meant to create and promote democracy. One question one may ask is why just Iraq. The reign of Saddam Hussein was said to be marred with socio-economic and political oppression with zero tolerance to opposition. This was seen as dictatorial and retrogressive towards the increasing need of globalization. Another two dimensional idealists can be observed in this group. The neoconservatives believe that democracy could only be achieved by force hence justified military deployment by the US. Part of these neoconservatives emphasizes protection of human rights as the essence of democracy and in the event this is in full violation then military intervention is acceptable. In this regard, US relation with Iraq is hanging on the balance with a lot under research.
Another school of thought refers to United States past records in international relations like in the case of Soviet Union, Britain and china. It is evident that US had to manage Iraq with allied support of some countries in the Middle East. The ironical twist in this case is that such allied states are always morally incongruent with US. This is the underlying truth in the case of Saudi Arabia’s pivotal role in boosting operation of US against the AL Qaeda. On this basis, Iraqi issue was seen as normal and justified. Critical evaluation of the arguments registered by various entities to this effect leaves one clear indication that Iraq invasion by United States was valid. The opinion of Feldman (2003, pg.41-3) is that there was an extension of the discussion that Middle East democracy would only be achieved through the United States approach. The finite nature of American power necessitated the support by other countries in its attempt to eliminate Jihadists. This is a supportive idea to the fact that foreign engagement in some cases depending on the circumstance may require back up by other states. The Muslim Radicals in Iraq were many and neighbouring states input is required in terms of military training ground, strategic planning and intelligence services. One lesson that was learnt from this incident is United States’ inability to overthrow regimes while at the same time courting alliance. Idealism approach assertion that a country cannot keep its moral policies while pursuing economic and physical security is trivial. In some circumstances, security demands power which is always entangled in corruption. Besides, seeking justice without sufficient force may turn tables against the country. All these facts indicate that American must just have its military force in its fingertips and use it when situations arise. In this respect, US involvement in the Middle East was likely to be interrupted with poor democracy in Iraq hence its use of military force. After all, in the socio-political history, there are claims that sometimes war can come to you even if you don’t ignite it. The situation of America in Iraq exposed it to two mandatory moral losses i.e. annihilation or an opportunistic corruption.
Meernik (2004, pg.120-4) asserts that the political leadership does not offer the luxury of thinking about fair decision making. Even not taking action is considered a decision in the political sense. A critical assessment of the respective regimes of George Washington, Franklin Roosevelt, and Richard Nixon to Barack Obama only explores one doctrine. Long term goals are the best for sustainable political principle otherwise short term is coupled with a lot of compromises. United States has been a leading campaigner for capitalism and past wars like with Vietnam was pursued to this effect. Such have been its strategic plan of imposing new world order and suspected threat is to be smashed by dialogue or war. It is, therefore, no strange that Iraq was headed the wrong way hence its collision with US. Some historians point out that if idealism approach had been used by United States, Adolf Hitler would have triumphed in World War II. It is, therefore, important for the US to understand that seeking democracy beyond its political resources and military endowment significantly threatens strength of democracy (Gaur & SeṅGara, 2005, pg.307-8). This idea complimented with the observed relationship existing between US and Iraq reveals that in some circumstances national interest’s defense justifies individual interest’s protection.
The moral argument in respect of United States involvement in the war with Iraq in a show of fighting for democracy stands out excellent. There is a good moral rationale against US setting up a military base in Saudi Arabia and provoking the Al Qaeda. According to McCormick( 2010,pg.102),one reality that United States has to contend with is that it has several enemies against few allied forces that it can use to pursue its will in the Middle East. Just like the case of the cold war and World War II, moral policies must be preceded by splitting and crashing the enemy. In regard to Middle East, United States had to use divide and rule strategy to strengthen its presence in the region against the opposition of Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda militia. This was evident with Bush’s pragmatic approach in Iraq. Martin (2003, pg.11) puts it that the realism theory of politics resurfaces equally in the debate of US – Iraq relationship. This concept disposes morality as it can compromise the security of the country. It is common knowledge that United States attack of Iraq was not authorized by United Nations for obvious reasons. While UN relies on proving guilt, US move indicated that they were investigating innocence on matters of nuclear weapons. However, from the perspective of Americans, pursuing moral discourse would disadvantage their interest of gaining influence in the Middle East hence compromise their long term economic and political schemes. The pretense of invading Iraq in search for weapons of mass destruction was not approved by the UN Security Council. The realists argue that the foreign policy understates the significance of morality. In this regard, America pursued its individual interest in Iraq through military intervention in a show of absolute power thereby evoking rebellion from most of the Arab states like Iran and other Muslim radical entities like al Qaeda (Tollitz,2005,pg.13-5). Realists champion for strong military power as a platform for international political deals. America had tried this in Vietnam and Iraq with less care about the feeling of other nations. Crusade for capitalism has been its priority and cannot be interrupted by any force lest they issue military reinforcement. This means heavy spending on the military by citizens’ tax. The recent withdrawal of US military personnel from Iraq by Obama has nothing to show in terms of gain to American citizens since their invasion.
United States applied different strategies to tame Iraq and restore what they termed as political sanity. This means that, in some instances, mixed policies were employed. In that respect, President Bush was seen as beginning to pursue realism and liberalism. In this case, multilateral ties with other nations make it difficult to wage war in a foreign land in an attempt to solve a problem. With the increasing international pressure from the allies of US in the Middle East in regard to how it was handling Iraq, it had to bring in liberalism approach. As Amstutz (2013,pg.87) puts it, the Middle East hold a significant position in the global trade but their strong geopolitical unity and congruent religious doctrines had begun to threaten US actions in Iraq. To reduce the possibility of losing track of its mission in Middle East and keep its diplomatic ties intact, it masterminded evicting Saddam Hussein from power and initiating a democratic process of coming up with a new president. This is an approach of the complex independence which required America to push for internal acceptance by the Iraqi citizens. To achieve this, they installed a president who would consent to most of their policies while lobbying for peace in the public. International relations proved indispensable to the US, and this culminated to the commencement of withdrawing troops. The United States had substantial trade and socio-political policy disagreements with some of its Middle East allies like Israel, but was not easy to use military intervention to bring a solution. In such scenarios, United States used economic incentives to press for their interests (Kant, et al.2005, pg.221).
Past political records identifies President Clinton as the only leader who effectively blended realism with idealism in the process of promoting human rights. Brutal actions of United States in Iraq were carried out at the height of Bush leadership. He was a strict idealist who inadvertently ignored the public talk against US invasion of Iraq. It did not matter to him what the outcome would be provided the mission was focused on meeting the demands of America. A lot of corruption, deceit and propaganda misinformed the actions of Bush and he completely considered Saddam Hussein a tyrant who needed crushing. The picture painted all over in the entire military operation including the capture and execution of Saddam Hussein is an explicit show of absolute idealism. There is a tricky policy yoke in which Obama found himself. In view of Kaufman (2013, pg.123), the progressive withdrawal of US troops from Iraqi has placed his presidency under some question mark. The ongoing policy reforms in Iraqi portray him as a realist, but there is an information gap here since these are mere implementation of Bush’s plans. While Obama was campaigning in 2004 for the presidency, the issue of Iraq was coming out more prominently, and that tag has always remained controversial in the wake of his recent past foreign policies. The eminent lose that United States had begun to foresee made the congress push for withdrawal from Iraq. From 2003 United States had begun to apply diplomacy in handling the Iraqi situation.
There are several effects that US invasion of Iraq has caused within the tenets of its socio-economic and political landscape. There has been internal rebellion against western policies by a section of Muslim radicals that has made Iraqi a place of frequent bombing. Initially, a Muslim dominated country; there has been a gradual shift in socio-cultural behaviour which US wanted to use as a medium of infiltrating the society (Fernandez Sola & Smith, 2009, pg. 67-9). A lot of reported US led atrocities caused emotional pain to several citizens especially during 2003. The pursuit of Saddam Hussein and subsequent execution was coupled with mass infrastructural destruction, and this significantly affected the economic progress of Iraq. It is worth to note that Iraq owns a significant proportion of OPEC supply share, but this was affected by explosion of many oil fields during the gulf war of 1991 ignited by the United States. It is worth noting that misrepresentation of facts by media and the underlying realities all worked against the United State in regard to their foreign ties with Arab League Nations. Mass destruction meted on Iraqi people was considered to create more instability as Iraqi was forced to retaliate against US sympathizers like Kuwait. Iraqi was seen as the epicenter of Muslim extremists’ groups like Al Qaeda, which has put the citizens under perennial fear of explosives. On the political front, destruction of Saddam attracted mixed feelings of the Iraqi people but the majority had a taste of a democratic election.
Multi-dimensional analysis of post invasion in Iraqi put the USA at the losing end. This perceived failure by United States significantly affected its standing in the UN council. Its unauthorized invasion of the Iraqi raised question on its voting rights within the UN. The Security Council had to lobby for adoption of more foreign friendly policies in regard to the United States dwindling relationship with Iraq. The new turn of events from 2003 exposed the vulnerability of US if it was to continue with its brutal attack on Iraq. In this regard, a more favourable international relations approach that would conform to the increasing pressure of globalization was proposed. The theory of complex interdependency requires a more diplomatic approach towards international disagreements. United States presence in Iraq was slowly increasing the tension in Middle East, and this even sucked in other influential states in the region like Iran (Lebow,2008,pg.465-7). It was out of this increasing multilateral trade ties that forced United State to begin a journey into diplomacy. This theory is referred to as liberalism and comes between traditional idealism and realism.
Outright declaration of war without UN Security Council was becoming more challenging to the US, and this prompted Obama administration to start pulling out troops as a way of showing commitment towards new foreign policies. Although the complex link between realism and idealism political ideologies has not been exhausted, liberalism came in handy for the US as a potential power broker in this era of globalization.
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