Advertisement

International Politics

, Volume 55, Issue 2, pp 334–348 | Cite as

Iraq: a liberal war after all: a critique of Dan Deudney and John Ikenberry

  • Patrick Porter
Original Article

Abstract

As the fifteenth anniversary of the Iraq war approaches, a debate has arisen over the war’s intellectual origins. G. John Ikenberry and Dan Deudney argue that it was predominantly a realist war, not a liberal one. I demonstrate, however, that both liberals and liberalism were deeply implicated in the decision to strike Iraq, and the wider public case for doing so. Liberal ideas were not a retrospective face-saving fiction after the invaders discovered Saddam had no WMD arsenal. Rather, ambitious objectives for regional transformation were central to the drive for war from the beginning. Liberalism married with the capabilities of a superpower gives America a proclivity for reckless military adventures. So long as liberalism, untempered by prudential balance-of-power realism, remains a central engine of American grand strategy, the USA will be prone to further such tragedies.

Keywords

Iraq war Realism Liberalism 

References

  1. Allawi, A. 2007. The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace. Yale, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Ambrosius, L.E. 2006. Woodrow Wilson and George W. Bush: Historical Comparisons of Ends and Means in Their Foreign Policies. Diplomatic History 30: 509–543.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. BBC News. 2003 Straw backs Exile Deal for Saddam 20 January.Google Scholar
  4. Blair, A. 2003. Private note to George W. Bush, ‘The Fundamental Goal, 26 March, at http://www.iraqinquiry.org.uk/media/244166/2003-03-26-note-blair-to-bush-26-march-2003-note-the-fundamental-goal.pdf. Accessed 14 November 2017.
  5. Bonin, R. 2013. Arrows of the Night: Ahmad Chalabi and the Selling of the Iraq War. New York, NY: Anchor.Google Scholar
  6. Bremer, P. 2006. My Year in Iraq: The Struggle to Build a Future of Hope. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
  7. Brooks, S., G.J. Ikenberry, and W.C. Wohlforth. 2013. Lean Forward. Defence of American Engagement. Foreign Affairs 92(1): 130–142.Google Scholar
  8. Brown, M.E., S.M. Lynn-Jones, and S.E. Miller. 1995. The Perils of Anarchy: Contemporary Realism and International Security. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  9. Bruni, F. 2001. A Nation Challenged: White House Memo. New York Times 22 September.Google Scholar
  10. Bush, George W. 2003. Both Our Nations Serve the Cause of Freedom. New York Times, 20 November.Google Scholar
  11. Bush, George W. 2005. Second Inaugural Address, https://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/infocus/bushrecord/documents/Selected_Speeches_George_W_Bush.pdf. Accessed 14 November 2017.
  12. Bush, George W. 2002. National Security Strategy of the United States of America. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  13. Butt, G. 2003. Bahrain offers exile as Egypt reviles Saddam. The Telegraph 20 March.Google Scholar
  14. Colby, E. 2007. Restoring Deterrence. Orbis 51(3): 413–428.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Danner, M. 2007. Words in a Time of War. Asia Times 2 June.Google Scholar
  16. Desch, M.C. 2007. America’s Liberal Illiberalism: The Ideological Origins of Overreaction in U.S. Foreign Policy. International Security 32(3): 7–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Deudney, D., and G.J. Ikenberry. 2017. Realism, Liberalism and the Iraq War. Survival 59(4): 7–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Deudney, D. and Ikenberry, G.J. 2012. Democratic Internationalism. Working Paper, Council on Foreign Relations.Google Scholar
  19. Deudney, D., and G.J. Ikenberry. 1999. The Nature and Sources of Liberal International Order. Review of International Studies 25: 179–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Doyle, M.W. 1997. Ways of War and Peace: Realism, Liberalism, and Socialism. New York, NY: W. W. Norton.Google Scholar
  21. Dunne, T. 2004. When the Shooting Starts: Atlanticism in British Security Strategy. International Affairs 80(5): 893–909.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Dyson, S. 2014. Leaders in Conflict: Bush and Rumsfeld in Iraq. Manchester: Manchester University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Flibbert, A. 2006. The Road to Baghdad: Ideas and Intellectuals In Explanations of the Iraq War. Security Studies 15(2): 310–352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Friedman, B.H. 2012. The Real Problem with a Secretary of State Susan Rice. CATO Institute Commentary 27 November.Google Scholar
  25. Gellman, B. 2008. The Angler: The Cheney Vice-Presidency. New York, NY: Penguin.Google Scholar
  26. Gholz, E., D.G. Press, and H. Sapolsky. 1997. Come Home America: The Strategy of Restraint in the Face of Temptation. International Security 21(4): 5–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hastings, M. 2011. Inside Obama’s War Room. Rolling Stone, 13 October.Google Scholar
  28. Heilbrunn, J. 2009. They Knew They Were Right: The Rise of the Neocons. New York, NY: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  29. House Joint Resolution. 2002. The Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002, Pub.L. 107–243, 116 Stat. 1498, enacted October 16, 2002, H.J.Res. 114.Google Scholar
  30. Iraq Study Group. 2006. The Way Forward: A New Approach. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  31. Hurd, D. 1967. The Arrow War: An Anglo-Chinese Confusion, 1856–1860. London: Collins.Google Scholar
  32. Ikenberry, G.J., T.J. Knock, A.-M. Slaughter, and T. Smith. 2008. The Crisis of American foreign policy: Wilsonianism in the Twenty-first Century. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Ikenberry, G.J. 2011a. The Future of the Liberal World Order: Internationalism after America. Foreign Affairs 90(3): 56–68.Google Scholar
  34. Ikenberry, G.J. 2011b. Liberal Leviathan: The Origins, Crisis and Transformation of the American World Order. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Jervis, R. 2003. Understanding the Bush Doctrine. Political Science Quarterly 118(3): 365–388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Keller, B. 2003. ‘The I Can’t Believe I’m a Hawk Club’ New York Times 8 February.Google Scholar
  37. Kennedy, D.M. 2005. What ‘W’ owes to ‘WW’. The Atlantic 30(5): 36–40.Google Scholar
  38. Kirshner, J. 2010. The tragedy of offensive realism: Classical realism and the rise of China. European Journal of International Relations 18(1): 53–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Layne, C. 1994. Kant or Cant: The Myth of the Democratic Peace. International Security 19: 5–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Layne, C. 2005. Wilson’s Ghost: Spreading Freedom around the World Will Destroy It at Home. The American Conservative 4(4): 9–11.Google Scholar
  41. Lieber, K., and D.G. Press. 2013. Why States Won’t Give Nuclear Weapons to Terrorists. International Security 38(1): 80–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Mann, J. 2004. Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet. New York: Penguin.Google Scholar
  43. McIntyre, J. 2003. Pentagon Challenges Vanity Fair Report. CNN 30 May 2003.Google Scholar
  44. McLellan, S. 2008. What Happened: Inside the White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception. New York, NY: Public Affairs.Google Scholar
  45. Mearsheimer, J.J., and S.M. Walt. 2003. An Unnecessary War. Foreign Policy 134: 50–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Meyer, J. 2004. The Manipulator: Ahmad Chalabi Pushed a Tainted Case for War. The New Yorker 7 June.Google Scholar
  47. New York Times Advertisement. 2002. War with Iraq is Not in the National Interest. 26 September.Google Scholar
  48. Packer, G. 2002. The Liberal Quandary over Iraq. New York Times Magazine, 8 December, pp.104-7.Google Scholar
  49. Parent, J.M., and J.M. Baron. 2011. Elder Abuse: How the Moderns Mistreat Classical Realism. International Studies Review 13: 193–213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Pfiffner, J.P. 2007. The first MBA president: George W. Bush as public administrator. Public Administration Review 67: 6–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Pollack, K. 2002. The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq. New York, NY: Random House.Google Scholar
  52. Powell, C. 2002. Memorandum for the President, Your Meeting with the United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair, April 5-7 2002 at Crawford, at https://foia.state.gov/searchapp/DOCUMENTS/April2014/F-201233239/DOC_0C05446915/C05446915.pdf. Accessed 14 November 2017.
  53. Posen, B.R. 2014. Restraint: A New Foundation for U.S. Grand Strategy. Ithaca, NY: Cornell.Google Scholar
  54. Ricks, T. 2006. Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq. New York, NY: Penguin.Google Scholar
  55. Rosato, S. 2003. The Flawed Logic of Democratic Peace Theory. American Political Science Review 97(4): 585–602.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Schmidt, B., and M. Williams. 2008. The Bush Doctrine and the Iraq War: Neoconservatives Versus Realists. Security Studies 17(2): 191–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Shifrinson, J.R.I. 2016. Deal or No Deal? The End of the Cold War and the US Offer to Limit NATO Expansion. International Security 40(4): 7–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Slaughter, A-M. 2003. Good Reasons for Going Around the U.N. New York Times 18 March.Google Scholar
  59. Starobin, P. 2006. The Realists. National Journal 39(37): 24–31.Google Scholar
  60. Thompson, J.A. 2010. Wilsonianism: The Dynamics of a Conflicted Concept. International Affairs 86(1): 27–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Tomasky, M. 2007. Beyond Iraq: Toward a New Liberal Internationalism. In Liberalism for a New Century, ed. N. Jumonville, and K. Mattson, 209–219. Berkeley, Cal: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  62. Tyler, P.E. 1992. U.S. Strategy Plan Calls for Insuring No Rivals Develop. New York Times, 8 March.Google Scholar
  63. Van Rythoven, E. 2016. The Perils of Realist Advocacy and the Promise of Securitization Theory: Revisiting the tragedy of the Iraq War debate. European Journal of International Relations 22(3): 487–511.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. White House. 2002. Press Release, Remarks by the President at 2002 Graduation Exercise of the Unites States Military Academy. 1 June.Google Scholar
  65. Wieseltier, L. 2003. Against Innocence. The New Republic 3 March.Google Scholar
  66. Williams, M.C. 2007. Morgenthau Now: Neoconservatism, National Greatness, and Realism. In Realism Reconsidered: The Legacy of Hans Morgenthau in International Relations, ed. M.C. Williams. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  67. Wilson, W. 1927. War and Peace: Presidential Messages, Addresses, and Public Papers 2 vols. New York: NYL Harper.Google Scholar
  68. Woodward, B. 2006. State of Denial. London: Pocket Books.Google Scholar
  69. Woodward, B. 2002. Bush at War. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  70. Zegard, A. 2008. The Legend of a Democracy Promoter. The National Interest 97: 43–53.Google Scholar
  71. Zimmerman, W. 2002. First Great Triumph. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ExeterExeterUK

Personalised recommendations