Since the beginning the war in Iraq was severely criticized not only by the world community and opponents of the US in the world international community but also by many Americans who attempted to look beyond the official pretext and motivation of the war. In fact, the war in Iraq is the natural consequence of the foreign policy of the current American President administration and it was repeatedly emphasized that the war in Iraq is a constituent and essential part of the war on terror declared by the US after September 11 attacks. At the same time, the current foreign policy of the US as well as the war in Iraq actually demonstrate double standards that the current administration uses in its foreign policy and, the criticism of the war gradually increases while the solution of the problem in which American army gets involved has not become closer or more understandable. In fact, the war in Iraq seems to be heavy but very precious load the Bush’s administration can neither bear nor throw away.
Causes of the war in Iraq and basic principles of American foreign policy
Basically, on analyzing the current foreign policy of the US and the war in Iraq, it is necessary to underline that the war was logical part of the existing principles of American foreign policy. It should be said that the national interests of the US has always been the main priority of the US, regardless what party controlled the White House. In such a situation, the declarations of the current President administration concerning the fact that the war in Iraq targets at the protection of the national interests of the US seems to be quite natural. In order to better analyze the argumentation of the Bush’s administration and its opponents, it is necessary to briefly discuss the start of the war and its causes.
First of all, it is necessary to start with the official causes declared by the President Bush which actually defined the further policy of the US in relation to Iraq. It should be said that the official strategic reason to start the war in Iraq was the terror attacks of September 11. It is after these attacks the US have launched the war on terror, which resulted in a number of victorious military campaign of the US army, among which the war in Afghanistan and Iraq are the most significant. However, it is possible to argue about the extent to which both wars were successful, while in the case of the war in Iraq it is hardly possible to speak about the total victory of American armor at all.
Nevertheless, the war in Iraq was declared essential as a part of the struggle against international terrorism, or to put it more precisely, Bush’s administration starting the war in Iraq actually struggled against the state supporting international terrorism. Obviously, the weakness of such argumentation of the war, at least on the international level was obvious, and the official pretext of the war was found: the potential threat to the US national interests from the part of the criminal and non-democratic Iraqi regime headed by Saddam Hussein which, according to the information of American intelligence possessed the weapon of mass destruction. As a result, the US launched the war in Iraq and along with its allies factually occupied the country and gave rise to the new democratic government of the country which, though, was highly dependent on American military presence in the region.
Formally, the causes and pretext of the war in Iraq are based on logical and clear principles of the foreign policy of the US. It is quite natural that the country considers the protection of its national interests the highest priority and protects them on the international level using all possible means, even though they may be argued by other participants of the international politics. Moreover, the war in Iraq was practically an essential step of the US since it declared the struggle with international terrorism the basic goal of its foreign policy, at least for the nearest future.
However, in such a situation, it is very important to critically evaluate the actions of the US and its foreign policy taking into consideration the opinion of critics of such foreign policy of the current President administration. First of all, it should be said that, in the course of time, the pretext under which the US had launched the war in Iraq turned to be totally fake since Iraq had not possess the weapon of mass destruction at the moment of American occupation. This is why it is obvious that the official pretext was just a tool that helped the US start the war in Iraq.
Furthermore, the officially declared struggle against international terrorism also seems to be not very persuading. In this respect, it should be said that the result of the war in Iraq seems to be quite the contrary to the declared goal to eliminate the international terrorism at least on the territory of Iraq. Instead, nowadays, international observers agree that terrorism is progressing in Iraq.
Moreover, nowadays, it is obvious that the modern Iraq is even less controllable that it use to be under the rule of Saddam Hussein. To put it more precisely, under the previous leader of Iraq, the country was totally controlled by special services that use all their power to cope with the enemies of the regime and any terrorist action somehow associated with Iraq was sanctioned by the ruling elite, if not directly by the leader of the country. This fact may be quite hard to be proved officially but, in actuality, it is true. In stark contrast, as the US army, fulfilling the major principle of American foreign policy of protection of national interests, has occupied the country the control over Iraq has been practically lost. At any rate, even though the country cannot threat to its neighbours or international community anymore the development of terrorism in Iraq really threatens to the stability not only within the country but also the world community at large since modern Iraq may be viewed as a polygon where terrorists acquire essential experience.
Consequently, it is possible to speak about the failure of the foreign policy of the US in Iraq. Moreover, the current American foreign policy also demonstrates double standards, selecting the enemies threatening to the US as the President Administration wishes they ignore the really important and dangerous problems like North Korea, for instance. In such a situation the allegations of critics of the current foreign policy of the US sound quite convincingly. To put it more precisely, it is argued that the current foreign policy and the war in Iraq as its essential part are economically motivated while the national interests or security turn to be secondary. To put in simple words, the war in Iraq is viewed as the war over oil and gas Iraq is rich in.
The just war in Iraq as an alternative to the current foreign policy
Obviously, the criticism of the current foreign policy of the US and war in Iraq is, to a significant extent justified. At any rate, I believe that this war cannot be named just at all. Traditionally, wars have been always criticised as absolutely inhuman and unacceptable, especially for a well developed societies. The peaceful principles dominate in different philosophical, ethical and cultural movements. Nonetheless, war is probably the most typical state for relations between peoples because there was very little historical time spent without wars.
In this respect, it is worthy to note that principles of the just war have been developed in order to justify somehow wars and make them more human, if it is possible to apply the word ‘human’ to wars at all. Basic principles of the just war are quite universal and, to a significant extent, are based on philosophical and religious beliefs, including Christian ones, which are universal and may be characterised as humanistic. To put it more precisely the notion of the ‘just war’ implies that the war should be waged as the last resort, when there is no other way out. Secondly, the war can be considered to be just if it is waged by a legitimate authority. Thirdly, the just war can only be fought to redress a wrong suffered. Furthermore, it should be fought with reasonable chances for success and its ultimate goal should be to re-establish peace. Finally, the violence in the just war should be proportional to the injury suffered.
However, applied to war in Iraq these principles seem to be too idealistic and practically unachievable. In fact, the war initiated as a just war, involved the US into a vicious circle when a ‘response’ on terror attacks and possible threats to national interests resulted in a growing tension and new terror attacks worldwide. Moreover, in actuality its start turned to be unjustified and unmotivated.
Furthermore, the war in Iraq did not fulfil the basic principle of peace keeping that is unacceptable not only for theory of a just war but also to humanistic and religious principles, including Christian and Judaist ones. Notably, peace is considered to be one of the main goals of Judeo-Christian teaching that is very important and as many believe that if Judeo-Christian principles were followed there would be no war in Iraq at least.
Unfortunately, the principles of peace-making turn to be absolutely unrealisable in the contemporary world because, as the recent example of the war in Iraq, it is not moral or religious principles that are the real reasons for a war but rather interests of a limited group of people.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that the current foreign policy of the US and the war in Iraq are far from perfect. Moreover, the economic background of the foreign policy and the war in Iraq is obvious. In such a situation, the current President Administration is in quite a difficult position. On the one hand, it is necessary to solve the problem of Iraq, where the presence of the US is economically extremely profitable, but, on the other hand, the US cannot afford the further aggravation of the situation since the current foreign policy in Iraq apparently leads the US to the dead-end.
Beverly, A. “Talking “Terrorism”: Ideologies and Paradigms of a Post-Modern World.” Syracuse Journal of Int’l Law and Commerce, Spring 1996.
Lopez, Kathryn Jean. “Justice in War: Just-war theory,” National Review, 15 October 2001.
Parker, A. and Fellner, J. “Above the Law: Executive Power after September 11 in the United States.” World Report 2004, Human Rights Watch, Jan. 2004.
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