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The Iraq war: an International Relations Theory Analysis

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  1. A biased theoretical debate
    1. When realists are against the intervention
    2. A liberal war?
  2. The strong theoretical consequences of Iraq war
    1. A wonder on American power in a post-international world
    2. War on terrorism in the post realist approach

On the nineteenth of March 2003 America and its allies started their invasion of Iraq. This intervention had the official goal of the struggle against a terrorism-friendly country, to avoid the expansion of mass destruction weapons and establish a democratic breakthrough in the Middle East. This war was preceded by a long public opinion debate, which showed a deep opposition of European people. The U.N refused to support American action. Thus, several questions emerged from this event. The first one was on the hegemony of American power. At the first glance it seems to be able to act alone. As a consequence any multilateralism would only be due to the super power's will. Nonetheless, after few weeks of easy military victory the U.S.A faced deep difficulties in rebuilding Iraq. One must contemplate the efficiency of classic military action on a guerrilla conflict. Saddam's fall has not helped cut down terrorism as shown by the Madrid and London bombings. Therefore, we must reflect on the means of struggling against terrorism. As the army is not capable of fixing it alone, alternative approaches including other skills are needed. We will first see what the classical theories state, and how they were overstepped by others closer to the decisional power. We will then present the new International Relations ideas which were borne or reinforced by failure of the Iraq war.

[...] Analyze the events from the past to draw up a general theory which can (with humility) foresee the consequence of a given action is the goal of international relations study. Realist theory succeeds this challenge for U.S intervention in Middle East. A liberal war? If the realist dogma is clearly opposed to the American intervention one could say that the liberal theory presents aspects that might fit with Iraq war. The principle thought of that school advocates that individuals are at the heart of international relations. [...]


[...] We will first see how the classical theories argue and how they were overstepped by others closer to the decisional power Then, we will present the new International Relations ideas which were born or reinforced by Iraq failure (II). A biased theoretical debate When realists counter the intervention: Let's start with a brief introduction to Alfred Hirschman's theories[2] and their application in international relations. A political work is preceded by a public debate which opposes the supporters and the opponents of the action. [...]


[...] The facts and the statements are not linked but still, communication is an important dimension of International Relations.[41] This can be a good analysis scale for Iraq intervention. The American officials used the term of ?defensive in order not to be perceived as the attackers. In fact as the psychological study shows, the aggressor, whatever his motivations, is always seen as the bad guy in terms of the international public opinion. The war on terrorism was also a means to gain international support. [...]

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