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US Foreign Policies and Operation Iraqi Freedom

The US led invasion of Iraq commenced on March 20, 2003 and was purportedly for the purpose of disarming Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to bring Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship to an end and to “free the Iraqi people. ” (Operation Iraqi Freedom, March 22, 2003) On May 1, 2003 President George Bush announced the end of the major war in Iraq. (Text of Bush Speech, May 1, 2003) but the ongoing effort to stabilize Iraq and further the agenda for world peace continues to this day. As of November, 2007 the US has spent US$474 billion on the war effort in Iraq.

(White, 2007) Despite the war and excessive spending, no weapons of mass destruction were uncovered and critics have maintained that the policies and rationales leading to the war were unfounded particularly since long running United Nations’ sanctions against Iraq crippled that nations’ ability to produce weapons of mass destruction. (Lopez and Cortright, July/August 2004) The discussion that follows examines these policies and rationales and considers whether or not sanctions were perhaps the best method of containing Iraq pursuant to US foreign policies and goals.

Foreign Policy Theories In trying to ascertain the policy decisions that gave way to the US occupation of Iraq and trying to reconcile the excessive military spending in light of sanctions that were obviously effective, there are four foreign policy theories that can be applied. These theories are the Innenpolitk theory, the Offensive realist theory, the Deffensive realisit theory and the Neoclassical realist theory. (Rose, 1998, 144-172) While these theories will be explained in greater detail in the remainder of this paper they can be summarized as follows: 1.

Innenpolitik is based on a presumption that domestic policies are the basis upon which world peace and cohesion should be pursued. (1998, 144-172) 2. Offensive realist recognizes a state of affairs where a relatively weak nation uses its relatively weak security for maximum effect. (1998, 144-172) This theory best applies to countries such as Iraq. 3. Defensive realists function on the premise that the balance of power is necessary to counter threats from rogue nations. (1998, 144-172) This theory would obviously apply to the position taken by the US in Iraq in response to the September 11 attacks.

4. Neoclassical realists takes the position that States only use world peace and national security as an excuse to further an agenda that is aimed at furthering their own political agenda. (1998, 144-172) As will be borne out, this theory best describes a largely international view of US intervention in Iraq. US Foreign Policies and the Iraqi War The US position on Iraq is fuelled by a foreign policy geared toward national security, a direct result of the terrorist attacks on September 11.

In many ways the US occupation of Iraq is founded on a foreign policy of Innenpolitik. Gideon Rose explains that Innenpolitik is founded on a “foreign policy” that is a “direct outgrowth of domestic politics. ” (Rose, 1998, 144-172) In other words, the terrorist attacks of September 11 created a fear of real and perceived threats to national security. In looking outward the US administration identified Iraq as a threat to its own national security. In utilizing the theory of Innenpolitik, the US set about attempting to disarm Iraq and overthrow its regime.

The underlying goal was to improve not only US security but to promote world peace. In the American vision, Innenpolitik is: “… about maintaining law and order, without which societies cannot function. ”(Levy, Pensky and Torpey, 2005. 60) The idea is to create a “universal Innenpolitik” based on and driven by US domestic policies. (Levy, Pensky and Torpey, 2005, 60) In order to achieve this end, persistent military and political intervention is necessary as witnessed by the excessive spending by the US in its occupation of Iraq.

Traces of universal Innenpolitik was also evident in the ongoing sanctions placed on Iraq since the onset of the 1990s. (Katzman, 2003, 3) Author and Neoclassical realist, Christopher Layne charges that US foreign policy for the last century has been based solely on a desire to restructure the world in its own image. (Layne, 2006, 1-14) This is evidenced by the military efforts and the numerous elections conducted under the auspices of the US in the Middle East. (Layne, 2006, 1-14) Christopher Layne maintains that contrary to US posturing on world peace:

“The story of American grand strategy over the past six decade is one of expansion, and that strategy’s logic inexorably has driven the United States to attempt to establish its hegemony in the world’s three most important regions outside North America: Western Europe, East Asia, and the Persian Gulf. ” (Layne, 2006, 3) Taking a position that is consistent with the neoclassical realist, Christopher Layne argues that the US’s “extraregional or global hegemon,” did not happen by accident, but rather by design.

(Layne, 2006, 3) This design began to take shape during the early stages of the Cold War in an effort to upstage the Soviet Union in pursuit of world dominance. (Layne, 2006, 3) While this posture is closely aligned to the position taken by Defensive realists, it is more appropriately aligned to the approach taken by neoclassical realist who staunchly believe that the US involvement in Iraq cannot be justified on grounds of domestic and homeland security. AT the end of the day, the neoclassical realist will freely argue that the facts do not support the ends.

While America has spent lots of money on the effort in Iraq, the United States is no more safer than it was when UN sanctions alone contained Iraq. The US occupation of Iraq in 2003 cannot be realistically attributed to new found fears of a threat to homeland security. As Telhami maintains, US relations with Muslim countries have for a long time prior to September 11, been characterized by hostilities, conflict and perhaps misperceptions most of which emanate from US policies in respect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

(Telhami, 2002, 47-48) The events of September 11 only served to cultivate a preexisting atmoshpere of mistrust and suspicions between the Muslim world and Americans. (Telhami, 2002, 47-48) The manner in which the US declared global war against terrorism placed the Muslim world on the defensive. (Rabasa, 2004, 51) If this was a genuine move to secure homeland security and world peace in a manner consistent with theories of Innenpolitik, it backfired and only served to support the neoclassical view of US foreign policy.

The US position against terrorism only served to strain the already tense relations with the Middle East in 2002, President George Bush publicly identified Iran Iraq and North Korea as representative of an “axis of evil” claiming that the development of nuclear weapons by these three regions was a threat to the safety and security of the United States in the global war against terrorism. (Amuzegar, 2003) The view expressed by US officials is certainly consistent with a foreign policy based on the Innenpolitik theory.

However, when considers that the finacial costs associated with military intervention is excessive when compared to the relatively low cost of imposing sanctions, the neoclassical theory certainly has more merit. This is particularly so in light of the fact that the imposition of sanctions was largely successful and the military efforts have only created greater security risks to the US and the world at large. Certainly, America is correct in maintaining that there is a now new concern in respect of proliferation of weapons of mass destructions following the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Chemical and biological weapons represent a special concern since they are comparatively inexpensive and as a result easier to obtain. These possibilities certainly lend weight to the widespread fear that rogue nations such as Iraq, Iran and Korea might facilitate the terrorists’ desire to come into possession of these weapons. will have little difficulty permitting these weapons to fall into the hands of terrorists. (Sopko, 1996/97, 3-20) There is sufficient history to support a reasonable fear of a threat to world and US homeland security.

In 1994, members of the terrorist cult Aum Shinrikyo used the chemical substance sarin in two terror attacks in Japan. (Tucker, 2006) In 2002, Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaeda leader Laden, declared that he was at liberty to acquire nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. (Tucker, 2006) Advancing the US foreign policy in a manner consistent with the theory of Innenpolitik US President George Bush said following the September 11 terror attacks: “Every nation in our coalition must take seriously the growing threat of terror on a catastrophic scale — terror armed with biological, chemical, or nuclear weapons.

”(Bolton, 2002) John R. Bolton, the US Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security addressed the Heritage Foundation in May 6, 2002 in such a way as to lend further weight to the US position with respect to its new goals for national and global security. He described what has now become “the new security environment. ”(Bolton, 2002) The new security environment came about as a result of the Semptember 11 terrorist attack and gives way to a new rational choice theory, one in which affirmative action mush be taken despite the risk of great losses.

By virtue of the rational choice theory, world security is well worth the excessive spending on militarty intervention. (Levy, 1997, 87-112) The September 11 attacks, which formed the basis of the US rational choice theory, was said to have heightened awareness of the threat posed by international terrorists. According to Bolton, every nation was under a residual duty to re-examine its position on the war against terrrorism. This rational choice theory was based upon the tenets of Innenpolitik.

In other words a new terrorist threat required cohesion of nations aligned entirely against those nations that were not democratically designed in the US model. The latter representing a harbinger for terrorist activity. The rational choice was to disarm these nations, force them into political sturtures modeles after Western concepts of democracy at all costs. In order to achieve this end nations should stand together by virtue of an entirely “integrated approach. ” (Torrente, 2004)

Seemingly irrational action was taken by the US following the September 11 attacks. Conduct that involved excessive military spending and action. First the US launched an attack on Afghanistan in an attempt to dismantle the Taliban and to locate Osama Bin Laden. While the US successfully dismantled the Taliban it did not locate Bin Laden and yet it turned its sights on Iraq The United States’ immediate response to September 11 was to hunt down Osama Bin Laden. The preception was that Bin Laden was capitalizing on close ties to Afghanistan’s Taliban.

Having successfully dismantled the Taliban and after unsuccessful attempts to locate Osama Bin Laden the United States set its sights on Iraq. Yet as journalist Edward Epstein reported: “While no public evidence has surfaced linking Iraq to Sept. 11, the administration asserts that Hussein continues to try to develop biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. ” (Epstein, 2001) Be that as it may, key members of the Bush administration in the weeks that followed the September 11 terroris attacks continued to maintain that Iraq was a supporter of international terrorism.

The statements were meant to convey the idea that Iraq would facilitate terorists’ activities by permitting them to come into possession of weapons of mass destruction by terrorists. Condolezza Rice, National Security Adviser maintained that America did not “need September 11” to know that Hussien was “threat to Amerian security. ”(Epstein, 2001) John Bolton, speaking at an international conference on bioterrism stated that it was widely believed that Iraq was “working on gern warfare. ”(Epstein, 2001) The rationalization of an intention to invade Iraq at great costs continued.

Washington Post reporter, Steven Musfon wrote that ten key members of Congress wrote letters to President Bush insisting that he: “make the Iraqi regime the next major target in the war on terrorism, declaring that as we work to clean up Afghanistan and destroy al Qaeda, it is imperative that we plan to eliminate the threat from Iraq. ”(Musfon, 2001, A28) Convicned that war on Iraq was a rational choice and in furtherance of its redefined foreign policy based on assumptions founded on the theory of Innenpolitik the United States canvassed for the ratification of UN Security Council Resolution 1441.

(Cohn, 2001) Prior to September 11, the US had been actively documenting its concern that the Iraq was harvesting weapons of mass destruction and had enlisted the United Nations’ interest and concern. In the decade following the Gulf War of 1991 the United Nations had ratified at least 16 Resolutions specifically calling for complete disarmanent of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. (Transcript, 2003) UN Member States had consistently registered concern over Iraqi refusal to cooperate with United Nations’ weapons’ inspectors.

(Transcript, 2003) The result was a number of sanctions, designed to undermine Iraq’s ability to manufacture and harvest nuclear weapons. Neoclassists maintian that the efforts were largely successful and the campaign to wage war against Iraq was no more than an excuse by the US to force its will on Iraq. Following the September 11 terrorist attacks the United States, led by President Bush renewed its concern over Iraq and the likelihood that it possessed weapons of mass destruction.

In its renewed agenda against Iraq, President George Bush addressing the General Assembly on September 12, 2002 maintained that Iraq was in breach of a pervious Security Council disarmment Resolution and: “continues to shelter and support terrorist organizations that direct violence against Iran, Israel and Western government…And al-Qaeda terrorists excaped from Afghanistan are known to be in Iraq. ”(Bush, 2002, 6) President Bush also went on to maintain that Iraq was in serious contravention of human rights mandates in 2001.

(Bush, 2002, 6) Bush was also adamant in his claim that Iraq was producing weapons of mass destruction and was thereby disrespecting previous resolutions passed by the United Nations. (Bush, 2002, 6) Moreover, Bush alleged that Iraq used funds generated out of the United Nations’ food for oil program to purchase weapons. (Bush, 2002, 6) Further discussions and negotiations ensued among United Nations’ Member States with the reuslt that the United Nations Security Council passed by a unanimous vote, United Nations Resolution 1441 on November 8, 2002.

In short, the Resolutin allowed Iraq “a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations. ” (US Department of State, 2002) Clause 13 of the United Nations Resolution 1441 has been interpreted as opening the door for an armed attack on Iran. The clause reads as follows: “…that the Council has repeatedly warned Iraq that it will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations of its obligations. ”(US Department of State, 2002, 30)

The United States, convinced of its own rational choice theory persuaded the United Nations likewise and on November 13, 2002, based on pressure from the United Nations. Iraq agreed to the final inspections clause and the United Nations Monitering, Verification and Inspections Commission headed by one of its members, Hans Blix and Mohamed EIBaradei from the Internatinal Atomic Energy Agency commenced inspections of sites in Iraq where it was suspected that weapons of mass destruction were being produced.

(United Nations Security Council, 2003) The United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspections Commission reported that there was no evidence of production or stock piling of weapons of mass destruction and while they did find missiles that contravened the United Nations restrictions those weapons were destroyed under the supervision of the United Nations Monitering, Verification and Inspections Commission. (United Nations Security Council, 2003)

The United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspections Commission was troubled by the lack of evidence to support Iraqi contention that it had destroyed both chemical and biological stockpiles discovered in Iraq in 1998. Although there was no evidence that such stockpiles continued to exist, the Iraqi could not substantiate the claim that they had in fact destroyed those weapons and were required to do so in the presence of United Nations personnel.

(United Nations Security Council, 2003) The United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspections Commission expressed a belief that Iran should have been in a position to furnish documented evidence of the destruction of those biological and chemical weapons and capabilities. (United Nations Security Council, 2003)

Committed to its rationale choice theory and ideals associated with Innenpolitik theories, the United States insisted that the failure to destroy weapons in the presence of United Nations’ personnel was tantamount to a failure on Iraq’s part to comply with the final demand for disarment under Resolution 1441 and used this as a premise to depose Saddam Hussien and launch a military attack on Iraq. Neoclassical realists would be correct in maintaining that such a move by the United States was no more than an veiled attempt to promote its Defensive realist agenda.

The United States was and continues to be committed to controlling the Middle East and used the September 11 attacks and Iraq as a means of furthering that agenda. It was less about promoting ideals of Innenpolitik theories. However, in order to solicity support by coalition forces it was necessary for the US to ride the coattails of Innenpolitick ideology. In order to do so, the US canvassed the notion that Iraq, contrary to UN findings was committed to harvesting weapons of mass destruction and was so connected to international terrorists that it posed a direct threat to global security.

In his State of the Union Address in 2003 George Bush said that the United States had to act now since it would be unwise to wait until Iraq became an “imminent threat. ”(National Security, 2004) On March 20, 2003 the United States backed by the United Kingdom and a smaller contingent of coaltiion forces including Australia and Poland, each of whom were obviously sold on the United States’ rational choice theory and the authenticity of it Innenpolitick ideology invaded Iraq. (Schifferes, 2003)

Although Saddam Hussein had been disposed and brought to justice and coalition forces have largely reduced their support of the Iraqi invasion the US remains committed to maintaining a military presence in Iraq. President Bush is adamant in his claim that “the central front in the War on Terror” is the Iraqi war. ( President’s Speech to the Nation 9/7/03) President Bush told his audience in his addres to the nation in late 2003: “The terrorists want us to leave Iraq before our work is done. They want to shake the will of the civilized world and they must be defeated.

” (President’s Speech to the Nation 9/7/03) Neoclassical realists insist that the United States’ invation of Iraqi in 2003 on the grounds of the precieved threat that Iraq was a harbinger for international terrorist was nothing more than a misnomer since not only have there been no discovery of weapons of mass destruction they is also no evidence linking Iraq to al-Qaeda. Some go further and allege that the only connection between Iraq and itnernatiional terrorism came afte the US led invasion of that country. Rohan Gunaratna, a counterterrorism expert calls the Iraqi invasion a “fatal mistake.

” (Gunaratna, 2004, 98) In 2004 the London group the International Institute for Strategic Studies averred that the Iraq invasion had grown into a “pretext” for “global recruitment” of terrorists. (Sengupta, 2004) The International Institute for Strategic Studies claim that although some thirty al-Qaeda leaders and another 2,000 key members have either captured or killed: “A rump leadership is still intact and over 18,000 potential terrorists are at large, with recruitment accelerating on account of Iraq. Abour 1,000 al-Qaeda supporters are believed to be active in Iraq. ” (Sengupta, 2004)

The US Natioal Intelligene Coucil also reported in January of 2005 that the post war Iraq had evolved into a venue for a new breed of terrorists. National intelligence officer for transnational threats, David Low said that the report submitted by the US National Intelligence Council Iraq had grown into: “…a training ground, a recruitment ground, the opportunity for enhancing technical skills… There is even, under the best scenario, over time, the likelihood that some of the jihadists who are not killed there will, in a sense, go home, wherever home is, and will therefore disperse to various other countries.

“(Priest, 2005) In 2006 the National Intelligence Estimate, having reviewed a number of US intelligence agencies found that: “The Iraq conflict has become the ’cause celebre’ for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement. ” (Declassified, 2006) It has become increasingly obvious that the American approach to Iraq was at the very least built upon a hasty attempt to circumvent the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by international terrorists might have been counterproductive in the approach taken against Iraq.

As Layne maintains, in order to accept that the US invasion of Iraq was founded upon a rational choice built on genuine intentions, one would have to agree that the resulting control of Iraq was purely accidental. Neoclassical realists entirely reject this position maintaining that the excessive spending on Iraqi Freedom was no accident and the mere fact that the United States and the World is no safer than prior to the Iraqi invasion speaks volumes.

All indications are that there were no weapons of mass destruction under Saddam Hussien and there was no real link between Hussien and international terrorists. However, post war reports indicate that the war in Iraq has encouraged terrorist activities, a result the Americans claimed that they had hoped to circumvent. At the end of the day, a terrorist threat exist whem none did prior to the invasion of Iraq. Obviously the United Nations’ Sanctions were far more effective than the loss of life and property experienced in Iraq.

Conclusion The United States made a perfectly good argument with respect to its rational choice and an argument that is conceivably consistent with Innenpolitik. Certainly if Iraq is a rogue nation in possession of weapons of mass destruction and maintains substantial links to international terrorists, no expense should be spared in containing Iraq in the interest of world peace and US homeland security particularly since the September 11 attacks.

However, the fact that no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq and there is no evidence linking Iraqi leaders to international terrorists, Neoclassical theorists are right in their assumption that the September 11 attacks provided no more than an excuse for the United States to further its world dominance agenda via the Middle East. The fact that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction clearly suggest that UN sanctions had effectively contained Iraq and at the same time make the excessive spending on military intervention in Iraq no more than a wasted expenditure.

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