Iraq War And Diversionary Foreign Policy Politics Essay

On 20 March 2003, the American forces invaded the Republic of Iraq. This marked the beginning of a major war which in the long tally became one of the most castigated foreign engagements of the United States in its history. Although on the surface ; it was a portion of the greater ‘War on Terror ‘ which was declared in the wake of the 9/11 onslaughts. But political scientists and historiographers have debated on the existent motives of this war. In this paper, an effort will be made to explicate the determination to occupy Iraq utilizing the Diversionary War Theory which implies that the turning unpopularity and domestic discontent during President Bush ‘s first term significantly contributed towards the determination to occupy Iraq. The paper shall reason stating that handling Iraq War as a Diversionary War is naive given the grounds available.

Description of Theory

Diversionary War Theory is an international dealingss theory that is used to explicate a peculiar usage of force by any state which is really intended to deviate the population ‘s attending from its domestic jobs. The Southern Cross of the theory is that when a leader is threatened by domestic jobs ( political or economic ) , he will look frontward to options that will deflect his state from domestic jobs and unify them for a individual cause. The most effectual manner to make this is to popularise an external menace and present one ‘s authorities as a loyalist against that menace. Therefore ; in times of war ( with another state ) , the support for any state ‘s leader greatly amplifies due to the ‘rally unit of ammunition ‘ the flag consequence ‘ .

The independent variable in this theory will be domestic political and economic jobs that threatened the power of the American President. These include all those jobs that could hold contributed to an electoral licking for George W. Bush in the 2004 Presidential elections. The paper will chiefly concentrate on the political and the economic 1s. The dependent variable is the determination to originate a war. In this instance, the determination to occupy Iraq will be treated as a variable dependant upon the turning domestic discontent with the policies of the authorities.

There are several sorts of grounds that can be used to prove this theory. To develop an overall image of the domestic discontent, assorted economic indexs can be used to foreground the declining province of the economic system. Other than that, societal indexs can be used to develop an apprehension of the dissatisfaction of the American population with its authorities. Though, the most of import piece of grounds is the blessing evaluations of George W. Bush from the twenty-four hours he assumed office boulder clay one twelvemonth after the start of the Iraq War. A careful analysis of these evaluations coupled with what people thought about President Bush before and after the war can be used to prove whether or non a Diversionary War was a profitable thing to originate.

Application and Analysis

Iraq had been a job for the United States since the Gulf War in the early 90s. After United States ‘ determination to endorse Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in the Gulf War, Iraqis had developed a austere disfavor for the Americans, and frailty versa. Following the Gulf War, the United Nations passed Security Council Resolution 687 which prohibited Iraq for transporting on with its arms of mass devastation plan. It besides stated that the bing arms were to be destroyed under a UN Special Commission. Most of these arms were destroyed but United States still suspected that Iraq had non halted its plan wholly. All this intuition sing Saddam ‘s purposes plus the drift provided by the planetary ‘War on Terror ‘ envisioned Iraq as an external menace. The people inside President Bush ‘s Cabinet that opposed the invasion were sidelined and the United States went on with a all-out invasion of Iraq on 20 March 2003. Apart from Iraq ‘s suspected ownership of arms of mass devastation, the other grounds stated by some authorities functionaries included, Saddam ‘s suspected harboring of Al-Qaeda terrorists and Iraq ‘s hapless human rights record. President Bush said in his ultimatum address from the White House:

We are now moving because the hazards of inactivity would be far greater. In one twelvemonth, or five old ages, the power of Iraq to bring down injury on all free states would be multiplied many times over. With these capablenesss, Saddam Hussein and his terrorist Alliess could take the minute of deathly struggle when they are strongest. We choose to run into that menace now, where it arises, before it can look all of a sudden in our skies and metropoliss. ( Bush )

So, in short President Bush said that it was ‘Now or Never ‘ . He said that if Iraq was left to its ain device, it would show an of all time greater menace to the United States in the hereafter. This was the official narrative that was fed to the multitudes by the American authorities.

Today, many political scientists and historiographers disagree with these official grounds. The international dealingss theory that some usage and which is being tested in this paper is the Diversionary War Theory. Harmonizing to this ideal account, the determination to occupy Iraq was made in order to unify the American state and deflect them from the hapless economic public presentation of the Bush Presidency. This is partly true. The economic and societal conditions under President Bush were non ideal. The revenue enhancement cuts in 2001 undermined the Social Security and contributed to a rise in the poorness degree. The poorness rate increased from 11.3 % to 12.7 % between 2000 and 2004 ( Greenberg 273 ) . Furthermore, the unemployment rate had besides increased from 4.2 % in Jan 2001 to 6.3 % in June 2003 ( US Department of Labor ) . All these indexs pointed towards a hapless economic public presentation which would hold surely increased the sum of discontent among the general population. Therefore, people argue that President Bush would hold lost the 2004 reelections if he would non hold taken the determination to occupy Iraq as his domestic public presentation was non really appreciable. The loyal ardor ignited by the Iraq War and the ‘rally unit of ammunition ‘ the flag ‘ consequence might hold contributed to President Bush ‘s reelection in 2004.

The grounds for this nevertheless is a small less convincing. Two different surveies have refuted the claim that Bush ‘s reelection was a merchandise of his determination to occupy Iraq. Eichenberg and Stoll concluded in 2004 that the casualty toll in Iraq really worsened Bush ‘s blessing evaluations. If there had non been a war, Bush would hold still won the elections as his blessing evaluations would hold been about 60 % ( Eichenberg and Stoll ) . Furthermore, another survey by Karol and Miguel in 2005 suggested that Bush would hold won the 2004 reelections by a landslide even if he would non hold invaded Iraq ( Karol and Miguel ) . These two surveies show that the political luck of President Bush was non threatened by the comparatively hapless public presentation of the economic system. He would hold managed to acquire reelected without a diversionary war. This seems to propose that the Iraq War was non launched with a diversionary inducement.

On the other manus, the Iraq War had a impermanent positive impact on the blessing evaluations of George W. Bush. Another survey done by Eichenberg, Stoll and Lebo in 2006 gives grounds for this. Immediately after the invasion of Iraq, President Bush ‘s popularity evaluations increased by 15 per centum points ( Eichenberg, Stoll and Lebo 789 ) . But this was merely a impermanent spike. The same survey found that President Bush ‘s evaluations started to travel down after United States started sing casualties in Iraq. By August 2004, the blessing evaluations were down to 50 % from 67 % at the start of the war ( 790 ) . This shows that the ‘rallly unit of ammunition ‘ the flag ‘ consequence was merely seeable in the really early phases of the war ; as the war progressed and Americans started deceasing in Iraq, the popularity of President Bush besides took a negative bend.

Given the grounds above, if we do a cost-benefit analysis ; we will recognize that a diversionary war was non in the best involvements of the President and the governing political party. Even though, in the short-run, it spiked up President Bush ‘s evaluations, but, in the long-term it left a dark grade on his political calling. The political bequest of George W. Bush was badly injured by the Iraq War. If President Bush would non hold invaded Iraq, he would hold still won the elections of 2004 ( like the grounds suggests ) and he would hold besides secured a respectable political bequest. In the long tally, Iraq War turned out to be a net negative for President Bush. Therefore, explicating the determination to occupy Iraq in footings of diversionary foreign policy becomes really hard.


The grounds seems to propose that explicating Iraq War in footings of the Diversionary War Theory will be absolute political naivete. The domestic state of affairs was non every bit bad as to endanger the political hereafter of George W. Bush and hence utilizing diversionary foreign policy to procure political hereafter would hold been an irrational thing to make.

The failure of Diversionary War Theory to depict the Iraq War lies in the overplus of grounds that led to this war in the first topographic point. It can non be denied that a Baathist Iraq posed a security menace to the United States and if it were allowed to go on its suspected WMD plan, United States ‘ security and political involvements would hold been threatened badly in the long tally. In add-on to this, the political influence of the so Vice-President Dick Cheney over President Bush ‘s policy were strong and Dick Cheney had seeable involvement in the invasion of Iraq. This was because he was a former Chief executive officer of the oilfields services elephantine Halliburton and hence had a vested involvement in the company ‘s aspirations as it was assigned immense undertakings in Iraq after the beginning of the war. There are other theories which pertain to the American desire to destruct the anchor of OPEC and take control of Iraq ‘s oil. These theories fundamentally say that the neo-conservative anteroom successfully forced President Bush ‘s to do a determination that would profit them. The neo-con program was to sell Iraq ‘s oil and interrupt the laterality of OPEC by deluging the universe market for oil ( Palast ) .

Conclusively, it can be said that handling Iraq War as a Diversionary War is non a good thought. The really fact that the beginning of the Iraq War coincided to an extent with the Presidential elections should non hide our apprehension of the political and international state of affairs that led to Iraq War going a world. There were many grounds and factors that contributed to this war and if we chose to handle Iraq War as a diversionary war, we will stop up disregarding all the other grounds that contributed to it. There is a border of possibility that the determination to occupy Iraq might hold had diversionary inducements, but the grounds to turn out that seems either inconclusively or inauthentic.