FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Lessons from the Imperial Adventure in Iraq

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:
July 01, 2020
Melvin Goodman
De-Militarizing the United States
Kenneth Surin
UK’s Labour Leader Sacks the Most Left-Wing Member of His Shadow Cabinet
Ruth Fowler
Then as Farce: the Commodification of Black Lives Matter
Kent Paterson
Crisis After Crisis on the Border
Rick Baum
The Pandemic and Wealth Inequality
Michael Welton
“Into the World of Bad Spirits”: Slavery and Plantation Culture
James W. Carden
The Return of the Anti-Antiwar Left
Dan Wakefield
Charles Webb Enters Heaven
Julian Vigo
A Call for Radical Humanism: the Left Needs to Return to Class Analyses of Power
Binoy Kampmark
A Trendy Rage: Boycotting Facebook and the Stop Hate for Profit Campaign
Michael D. Knox – Linda Pentz Gunter
As Monuments to War Generals Come Down, Let’s Replace Them with Monuments to Peace
Cesar Chelala
Attorney General William Barr’s Insomnia
Raphael Tsavkko Garcia
Is Bolsonaro Plotting a Self-Coup?
Mandy Smithberger
COVID-19 Means Good Times for the Pentagon
Joe Emersberger
On Pablo Celi, Ecuador’s super shady “Auditor General”
June 30, 2020
James Bovard
Bill Clinton’s Serbian War Atrocities Exposed in New Indictment
Bianca Sierra Wolff – Lisa Knox
ICE is Leaving Immigrants to Die in Detention, and Retaliating When They Speak Out
Don Fitz
Should NYC’s Wall Street Be Renamed “Eric Garner St.?”
Chris Hedges
My Student Comes Home
Richard C. Gross
Obamacare Vulnerable
John Feffer
The Hatchet Man’s Tale: Why Bolton Matters
Thomas Knapp
Afghanistan Bounties: Pot, Meet Kettle (and Turn Off the Stove!)
Charles Reitz
Anti-Racist Engagement in the Kansas Free State Struggle, 1854-64: Horace Greeley, German 48-ers, and the Civil War Journalism of Karl Marx, 1861-62
Howard Lisnoff
A Student Murdered in Cold Blood and a Kids’ Bike Ride Through Queens, New York
David Swanson
Hey Congress, Move the Money
Aparna Karthikeyan
Memories of Pox, Plague, and Pandemics in Tamil Nadu
John Kendall Hawkins
Democracy Chasers in a Badly Injured Nation
Binoy Kampmark
Wasteful, Secret and Vicious: the Absurd Prosecution of Witness K and Bernard Collaery
Norman Solomon
Ro Khanna and Barbara Lee Could Defy “the Madness of Militarism” as Co-Chairs of the Democratic Convention’s Biggest Delegation
Jon Hochschartner
Imagining a Vegan Superman
Arianna Amehae
ESPN to Follow “Somebody’s Daughter” in Bringing International Attention to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Tragedy
CounterPunch News Service
An Osprey Forest in Humboldt County is Being Defended by Treesiters
June 29, 2020
Patrick Cockburn
The Blundering British Political Class has Shown the Same Incompetence in Both Fighting Wars and Coronavirus
Robert Hunziker
Arctic Heat Overwhelms Green Infighting Issues
Kathy Kelly
Battleground States
Eileen Appelbaum
The Pandemic Shows the Importance of Funding Early Childcare and Education Infrastructure
Gregory Elich
Will South Korea’s Moon Defy Trump and Improve Relations with North Korea?
Dean Baker
On the Recession, Stimulus and Economic Recovery
Sam Pizzigati
Defund the CEOs
Mitchel Cohen
Bolton and the Pandemic
Paul A. Passavant
Protest and the Post-Legitimation State
Ralph Nader
Congress Must Hold President Trump Accountable!
George Wuerthner
Missouri River Breaks: How BLM Neglect Threatens a Wild and Scenic River and National Monument
John Feffer
The De-Trumpification of America
Christopher Brauchli
Great Minds Think Alike: Bolsonaro and Trump
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail