FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Lessons from the Imperial Adventure in Iraq

by MUQTEDAR KHAN

American foreign policy and its global concerns have been central to the emergence of the world’s present multilateral order. However, American foreign policy has now become of concern to the global order. America according to the new Bush doctrine is abdicating its role as the defender and maintainer of the global order and is instead seeking to undermine multilateralism in favor of unilateral militarism.

The invasion of Iraq was a test case of America’s new foreign policy. The same infamous Bush doctrine has made America a re-visionary state in the very system that America established. Before Washington continues with its imperial overreach program, it is time to stop, identify and contemplate upon the lessons that we have learned from the invasion of Iraq.

The Bush Doctrine is based on three pillars:

1. America’s unrivalled power

2. Unilateralism

3. Preemption

Sure, America is the world’s only super power and its power, is indeed unrivalled. Clearly no other country comes even close to American military and technological strengths. The speed and ease with which the Iraqi army, a replica of the Russian army, was defeated showcases American military prowess. However, this same ultimate military machine has been incapable of providing security in Iraq and has failed to remove the threat of Al Qaeda, even within countries that it currently occupies–Afghanistan and Iraq. Apparently, America is number one, but not good enough to do it alone. Bush administration’s constant pleas to other nations to provide troop support to stabilize Iraq takes the gloss of the war machine.

America’s super power status also derives from its vibrant economy. American economy is the world’s largest economy and has remained so for over six decades. However September 11 and the challenge of reconstructing Iraq is placing unbearable stress on the super economy. When George W. Bush became President, America was $250 billion in surplus and the deficit now is about $500 billion. President Bush has been losing over $250 billion per year. Today the US Congress is recommending that American foreign policy goals, such as reconstructing Iraq and triggering a transformation of the Middle East should be financed by future Iraqi oil revenues. The senate voted that half of the amount that President Bush sought for reconstruction of Iraq must be in the form of a loan to Iraq. Clearly American economy is the world’s biggest, but not big enough to finance the Bush doctrine.

An important component of American power is American culture, the source of America’s unique soft power. American values and American culture enjoy a global appeal and have often helped legitimize America’s international engagements and its self appointed role as the world’s policeman. America’s soft power has also been an important diplomatic resource which made influencing and persuading foreign countries to comply with American wishes much easier. However America’s post September 11 foreign policy and the rather abrasive style of America’s commander-in-chief have together contributed to the globalization of anti-Americanism which has reached shocking levels. It seems that the world is determined to oppose America. In many ways the present anti-Americanism, which can be detected even in institutions such as the UN, is like a worldwide civil disobedience movement against the American empire. ! The world is sending a loud and clear message to the new America and it reads–No Way Jose!

Sure American power is unrivalled, but it is also inadequate for the imperial aspirations of the Bush Doctrine. This is the first lesson we learn from the invasion of Iraq.

Today we live in a world which is determined to oppose American unilateralism. The UN has resisted legitimizing US policies made without regard to world public opinion. Even when the UN acceded to American demands, such as the recent Security Council vote allowing nations to help the US, there are very few nations willing to come forward to help the US extricate itself form the self inflicted mess in Iraq. Across the board nations are expressing their anger, their opposition and their disquiet at American unilateralism. The world has learned to appreciate the multilateral order that has emerged as a result of American initiatives, survived as a result of American support, has learnt to accommodate American interests to some extent, but is now resilient enough to resist American efforts to bypass it.

The second lesson from the war on Iraq is that the multilateral order is more stable and far more relevant than the Bush administration thinks.

America is a democracy and even if George W. Bush was elected by divine intervention he does not enjoy a carte blanche on policy making. Public opinion matters and will matter progressively more as we approach the next presidential elections. The Bush administration managed to win public support for a preemptive war against Iraq by essentially misrepresenting facts and corrupting intelligence. The failure to find evidence for the linkage between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein and the alleged stockpiles of WMDs have not only undermined the credibility of America worldwide and the Bush administration at home but has most importantly, underscored the dangerous of the preemption doctrine.

The final lesson from the imperial adventure in Iraq challenges the age old American political dictum–Democrats are strong on economy and the Republicans are strong on defense. The present Republican administration in Washington has proven to be irresponsible in fiscal as well as defense matters.

MUQTEDAR KHAN is Director of International Studies at Adrian College and a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He is President of the Association of Muslims Social Scientists and the author of American Muslims: Bridging Faith and Freedom.

 

More articles by:
June 29, 2016
Diana Johnstone
European Unification Divides Europeans: How Forcing People Together Tears Them Apart
Andrew Smolski
To My Less-Evilism Haters: A Rejoinder to Halle and Chomsky
Jeffrey St. Clair
Noam Chomsky, John Halle and a Confederacy of Lampreys: a Note on Lesser Evil Voting
David Rosen
Birth-Control Wars: Two Centuries of Struggle
Sheldon Richman
Brexit: What Kind of Dependence Now?
Yves Engler
“Canadian” Corporate Capitalism
Lawrence Davidson
Return to the Gilded Age: Paul Ryan’s Deregulated Dystopia
Priti Gulati Cox
All That Glitters is Feardom: Whatever Happens, Don’t Blame Jill Stein
Franklin Lamb
About the Accusation that Syrian and Russian Troops are Looting Palmyra
Binoy Kampmark
Texas, Abortion and the US Supreme Court
Anhvinh Doanvo
Justice Thomas’s Abortion Dissent Tolerates Discrimination
Victor Grossman
Brexit Pro and Con: the View From Germany
Manuel E. Yepe
Brazil: the Southern Giant Will Have to Fight
Rivera Sun
The Nonviolent History of American Independence
Adjoa Agyeiwaa
Is Western Aid Destroying Nigeria’s Future?
Jesse Jackson
What Clinton Should Learn From Brexit
Mel Gurtov
Is Brexit the End of the World?
June 28, 2016
Jonathan Cook
The Neoliberal Prison: Brexit Hysteria and the Liberal Mind
Paul Street
Bernie, Bakken, and Electoral Delusion: Letting Rich Guys Ruin Iowa and the World
Anthony DiMaggio
Fatally Flawed: the Bi-Partisan Travesty of American Health Care Reform
Mike King
The “Free State of Jones” in Trump’s America: Freedom Beyond White Imagination
Antonis Vradis
Stop Shedding Tears for the EU Monster: Brexit, the View From the Peloponnese
Omar Kassem
The End of the Atlantic Project: Slamming the Brakes on the Neoliberal Order
Binoy Kampmark
Brexit and the Neoliberal Revolt Against Jeremy Corbyn
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Alabama Democratic Primary Proves New York Times’ Nate Cohn Wrong about Exit Polling
Ruth Hopkins
Save Bear Butte: Mecca of the Lakota
Celestino Gusmao
Time to End Impunity for Suharto’’s Crimes in Indonesia and Timor-Leste
Thomas Knapp
SCOTUS: Amply Serving Law Enforcement’s Interests versus Society’s
Manuel E. Yepe
Capitalism is the Opposite of Democracy
Winslow Myers
Up Against the Wall
Chris Ernesto
Bernie’s “Political Revolution” = Vote for Clinton and the Neocons
Stephanie Van Hook
The Time for Silence is Over
Ajamu Nangwaya
Toronto’s Bathhouse Raids: Racialized, Queer Solidarity and Police Violence
June 27, 2016
Robin Hahnel
Brexit: Establishment Freak Out
James Bradley
Omar’s Motive
Gregory Wilpert – Michael Hudson
How Western Military Interventions Shaped the Brexit Vote
Leonard Peltier
41 Years Since Jumping Bull (But 500 Years of Trauma)
Rev. William Alberts
Orlando: the Latest Victim of Radicalizing American Imperialism
Patrick Cockburn
Brexiteers Have Much in Common With Arab Spring Protesters
Franklin Lamb
How 100 Syrians, 200 Russians and 11 Dogs Out-Witted ISIS and Saved Palmyra
John Grant
Omar Mateen: The Answers are All Around Us
Dean Baker
In the Wake of Brexit Will the EU Finally Turn Away From Austerity?
Ralph Nader
The IRS and the Self-Minimization of Congressman Jason Chaffetz
Johan Galtung
Goodbye UK, Goodbye Great Britain: What Next?
Martha Pskowski
Detained in Dilley: Deportation and Asylum in Texas
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail