War Over Iraq Term Paper

Pages: 7 (2567 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Government

¶ … radical and somewhat frightening ideas about the War in Iraq. It is important to note that the writing of the book began before the War actually broke out and so most of the ideas offered by the authors is done without the benefit of hindsight and involves a great deal of speculation on their part. However, their viewpoints which advocate that the United States must resign itself to engaging in a series of continued little wars throughout the world for an extended time places a pallor over all their subsequent comments.

The fact that the two authors, William Kristol and Lawrence Kaplan, possessed impressive credentials that included extensive experience working with a number of high level government officials in both the foreign relations and military areas lent a measure of credibility to their thoughts and suggestions. Knowing that the authors had such connections made it possible to believe that their thoughts and suggestions were shared by these high level contacts and that their views might be the eventual foreign policy of the United States.

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Kaplan and Kristol were highly critical of the foreign policy directives and approach of the first George Bush and Bill Clinton. As both administrations essentially adopted a position where the United States would not meddle in the affairs of other nations which runs contrary to the authors' view that the United States should engage itself as the policeman of the world. The election of the younger George Bush was seen by the authors has a positive step forward in American foreign relations. Although the younger Bush had several advisors such as Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice that the authors looked upon with suspicion, this was counter-balanced by other members of his administration that the authors believed favored their viewpoints relative to America's role in world politics. These administration members, specifically, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and Vice-President Dick Cheney the authors believed were able to impose their views on the policies of the younger Bush's administration so that such policies were in line with that of the authors.

TOPIC: Term Paper on War Over Iraq Assignment

The authors make it clear that they completely reject many of the prevailing foreign policy approaches that have been adopted by the various presidential administrations following the end of the Second World War. This approach, which essentially advocates diplomacy as the primary guide post in conducting foreign relations, is ineffective according to Kaplan and Kristol. Kaplan and Kristol believed that diplomacy could be used effectively but that the such diplomacy should not include developing relationships with non-democratic nations. For Kaplan and Kristol, the goal of American foreign policy should be directed at creating a world consisting of democracies as they believe that such a development would result in a world free of wars. According to the authors, "democracies rarely, if ever, wage war against one another." Given this as the premise, the foreign policies of Clinton and the older Bush were ineffective and misdirected because they failed to emphasize the importance of spreading democracy throughout the world. The younger Bush, however, recognized the importance of this concept and worked to develop a foreign policy that incorporated this goal despite the fact that his primary foreign policy advisors, Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice, both advocated approaches similar to that utilized by both Clinton and the older Bush. As a result, the authors felt that the younger Bush would adopt fail to utilize the democratization approach and would follow the pattern established by prior administrations. To their surprise, somehow, the younger Bush became a strong supporter of the democratic approach and, as history, would demonstrate soon after the publication of the book, Bush invaded Iraq in an effort to bring democracy to at least one of the Middle Eastern Arab states.

The basic tenet of Kaplan and Kristol's theory that democracies do not wage war against each other is an offshoot of a premise offered by the philosopher, Emmanuel Kant. Kant suggested that democracies engage less willingly than other forms of government because when the consent of the general citizenry is required before war can be declared such action will be taken less rapidly. Citizens in a democracy are reluctant to put themselves in the type of risk that war involves and, therefore, democracies are hesitant to consider war as a possible form of resolution.

Kaplan and Kristol strongly argue that the solution to the political problems in the Middle East is having all the governments contained therein to adopt democratic forms of government. Having them do so would effectively remove war as a potential threat. The democratic governments of Iran, Israel, Iraq and Egypt would never consider war as an option in resolving disputes and the need for the United States to become involved in the affairs of these states would be alleviated. An additional side benefit would be having all these Middle Eastern states as an American ally and bring their vast oil reserves with them. The United States would no longer be at the mercy of the Saudis.

The problem with the approach advocated by the authors and placed into operation by the younger Bush administration is that there are a great number of non-democratic countries throughout the world and converting them to the democratic form of thinking is a major task. The Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are classic examples of the problems that are encountered in attempting to force others to adopt the democratic form of government. Forced democratization has not worked in the past and it certainly does not appear to be working effectively in either Iraq or Afghanistan. The process will likely require the United States to involve itself in continued war like conflicts throughout the next several decades with no guarantee of success. This is a possibility that the American people are not likely to support as evidenced by their weakening support of the government's activities in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The approach advocated by Kaplan and Kristol requires far more dedication than what can be expected from the American people and would require the government dedicating a large percentage of the national budget on defense spending to finance continuous conflicts throughout the world. It requires a moral dedication and a belief that America has a duty to spread its mission and philosophy throughout the world. Kaplan and Kristol argue that this should be the foreign policy direction of the U.S. government and should be the rationale for the invasion of Iraq.

The most glaring frightful portion of the foreign policy approach advocated by the authors is their absolute dedication to using military power as a form of democratizing the rest of the world. They recognize that there a great number of countries in the world who do not view the United States as that great shining light on the hill. These countries, instead, view the United States as a hostile force and a potential enemy. Unbelievably, Kaplan and Kristol actually suggest that America's should address the failure of these countries to follow the lead of the United States in adopting a democratic form of government by launching preemptive military attacks on these nations. They suggest that the United States actually possesses a moral right to defend itself against such potential enemies and to do so before they have the opportunity to strike a blow against the United States.

What the authors fail to address, or fail to realize, is that the history of forcing other nations to adopt democracy has not been particularly successful. The Allied forces subsequent to the Second World War attempted to force democracy on the German people. The conventional thinking was that the monarchy in Germany was too prone to rely upon its military and that, as a result, the balance of power in Europe was always at the mercy of the Germans. By displacing the German monarch with a democratic government the thought was that Germany would become less bellicose in foreign policy matters. Needless to say, the Allied experiment was a dismal failure. The German people's first attempt at democracy resulted in the rise of Adolph Hitler and the Nazi Party and led to a Second World War. But for the Allies' insistence on forcing a democratic government on the German people Hitler's rise to power would not have been possible. Other examples in recent history where forced democratization has been attempted such as in the Middle East, Africa, and Central America should illustrate that the process simply does not work.

The authors must have been particularly pleased with the younger Bush's decision to invade Iraq. On several levels, such decision falls in line with their foreign policy philosophy. First, the preemptive nature of the invasion reflects their belief that such action is necessary in order to avoid a possible attack in the future from hostile forces. Bush relied heavily upon intelligence reports that said that Iraq and their leader, Saddam Hussein, possessed weapons of mass destruction that served as a threat to the rest of the world. This was a perfect pretext for… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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