In this paper, I intend to analyze Iraq war of 2003 from Realist and Marxist/ Critical perspectives. I intend to draw a conclusion as to which theoretical framework, in my opinion, is more suitable and provides for a rational understanding of the Iraq War. While drawing comparative analysis of two competing approaches, I do not intend to dismiss one theory in entirety in favour of another. However, I do intend to weigh on a golden balance, lacunas of both theories in order to conclude as to which theory in the end provides or intends to provide a watertight analysis of the Iraq war.
Followers of Realist school of thought argue the case of 2003 Iraq war from the standpoint of power and Security. The Bush administration’s rationale for launching a pre-emptive attack against Iraq was based on two misleading assumptions: firstly, Iraq had or was developing Weapons of Mass Destruction (along with Iran and North Korea) and secondly, that it was aiding and protecting terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda. Such a conjecture based on unsubstantiated evidence helped Bush administration conjure up a dystopian situation which justified 2003 invasion of Iraq under the pretext of “security maximization”. This explanation was given in pursuance of the realist assumption that States’ as rational actors always act in accordance with their national security interests.
However, failure to procure any putative weapons of mass destruction in Iraq forced Realist apologists to invoke the concept of “offensive Realism” to explain the Iraq war of 2003. They argued that Iraq’s acquisition of uranium and aluminum tubes posed a “Security Dilemma” to the U.S. and her allies. According to Wheeler and Booth, security Dilemmas...
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...ot afford to lose its predominance in oil rich gulf region. Saddam’s defiance challenged American supremacy and consequently, a planned invasion of Iraq was launched by U.S. and her allied forces in 2003. The invasion had two-fold objectives: one was to secure oil resources in Iraq and other was to reassert its Political-economic dominance in the region which is of great strategic importance to US. Realist theory narrows down the scope of interpretation of war to power politics characterized by military capability while critical and Marxist thinking employs “historical structures” to understand why power is being exercised in a certain way. It broadens the scope of concept of power beyond military perspective. Thus, Iraq war which was fought beyond the scope of “offensive realism” can be better understood within the theoretical framework of Critical/ Marxist theory.
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