Leadership and Foreign Policy Decision Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

The intervention in Iraq can be said to have had a humanitarian purpose; nonetheless, the U.S. then remained in the region to reconstruct the society and the country as a whole. This in turn brought up important financial gains as well as business opportunities. At the same time though, the overthrow of Saddam was important from the point-of-view of the stability in the region and for the oil markets the U.S. And the world is so dependent on.

The second model of analysis is the "domestic politics" model which is crucial for the well being of the American democracy. This is an approach based on the actual interests of the domestic actors involved. In this sense, political factors such as parties play a key role. This model, particularly adapted to the framing of the environmental policy stresses the need for consensus or at least for debate concerning a matter of national interests inside the institution most representative for the nation (Softing, 2000). This comes to point out the need for legitimacy from the people. Indeed, there is a stringent need for consensus in order to have the third element of the first model, which is control over the society; yet the simple fact that matters of national and global interest are discussed at the highest level of the democratic institution is essential. still, in order for this model to ensure a proper guideline for framing foreign policy it is important that this process offers a serious solution to the issues discussed.

The United States conducted impressive debates on the intervention in Iraq precisely because the decision making forums were well aware of the need for social consent. At the same time though, it was crucial that the Congress vote on the decision to go in Iraq and on the funding of this mission. Consequently, it can be said that there was a wide consensus on the support for Bush's approach to the Iraqi situation, taking into account a simple fact which is currently keeping the headlines in the U.S. presidential campaign. More precisely, it is important to point out the fact that before Barrack Obama' nomination as the Democrats' candidate, all major contenders including Hilary Clinton supported the intervention in Iraq. The outcome of the policy achieved through the support of the forces making up domestic politics however tends to point otherwise. At this moment, Obama marches for a rapid withdrawal of the troops in Iraq, while Hilary Clinton admits that the initial decision was a hasty one. Still, the most important aspect remains that the Administration took into account the need for acceptance from the political circles, and not only the capacity of the U.S. To have an image of a unitary actor in the world.

From a non-professional point-of-view, it can be said that both these models were taken into account when the decision to intervene in Iraq was taken. Yet, it may be that in terms of the outcome as well, the first model was considered to a larger extent. This would be explicable through the fact that the United States acted in the end unilaterally without the consent of the United Nations and of the majority of the states. At the same time, the outcome and the failure to successfully "win the peace" pointed out the fact that the result of the policy was in the end a decrease in the popularity of the U.S. In regard to the Middle East states.

Overall, it can be concluded that foreign policy is conducted according to the analyses of several key factors such as the power relations between states, the ability to project an image of a unitary state, as well as the possibility to agree on an issue inside the circles of domestic politics. In the case of the U.S. And Iraq, it can be said that the outcome revealed that the U.S. decision was taken according to the first model of analysis rather than the second one.


Nye, Joseph. Understanding international conflicts: an introduction to theory and history. New York: Pearson, 2005

Softing, Guri Bang. "Climate change policymaking - three explanatory models." Cicero Working Papers. 2000. 14 June 2008 http://www.cicero.uio.no/media/205.pdf

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