International Relations Theories and the Role of the U.S. In the Middle East
A Short Analysis of U.S. Culture Theories and Interventions
intervention in the Middle East has had very divergent consequences for both Iraq and the United States, with the lasting outcome being undetermined as of yet. The two countries are polar opposites in many ways, including vastly different cultures, different work ethics, and different histories. The divide between the Western Liberalized world and the world of Muslim dictators has always been troublesome in relations between the two populations. Lessons may be learned from the African Union in how to unite deeply divided states, as the institution has been successful in their attempt to unite states divided by religion, ethnicity, language, and culture. The African Union may also learn lessons from the U.S. intervention in Iraq, as the International Relations Theory pursued by the United States proved successful in not simply affecting the political elite of Iraq, but also uniting and rebuilding an entire society with divisions centuries deep.
The United States approached the Iraq intervention with muddy intentions and very little premeditation on what its ultimate goal was for Iraq. Iraq on the other hand, was ill prepared for a change of power in 2003, and the United States made the situation worse by the process of debaathification, which was the decision to remove all of Saddam Hussein's political allies (called the Baathist party) from positions of power in the government. This decision was a huge mistake, because it left the most qualified citizens of the country in limbo, while the unprepared Shi'ite population was incapable of controlling a government. For several years the United States had to maintain presence closely with the Iraqi government in order to provide calm and training. After the execution of Saddam Hussein, the country entered a period of civil strife, with death squads forming between neighborhoods, and the emergence of Al-Qaida in Mesopotamia as a threat to the stability that had been tentatively created.
The realist theory is the oldest international relations theory on record, because it is the simplest. The Realists believe that states are in a constant state of shifting power, and that more powerful states will always try to take advantage of less powerful states. This idea has been touted by many who looked at the U.S. invasion of Iraq as a watershed moment where the U.S. decided it had become powerful enough to exert its will over an entire country, while maintaining its relative strength at home. This move is surely in line with Realist thinking, but does not explain the actions of former President George Bush. President Bush took the interesting position that the purpose of the invasion was to reform Iraq and to spread Democracy within the Middle East, aggressively pushing American interests abroad. This position is actually contrary to standard Realist thought, as the process of rebuilding Iraq is technically a weakening position to the U.S., who had to spend massive amounts of money in order to stabilize the country. Therefore, while the U.S. confidence in the initial invasion is a representation of Realism and the supremacy of the U.S. In a state system was guaranteed, the Bush decision to put in so many U.S. resources into Iraq meant that Realism did not necessarily explain the entire invasion, as a poorer U.S. And a stronger Iraq is the opposite of the goals of the true realist, who is only concerned with power maximization at the expense of their neighbors.
Liberalism is the opposite end of the International Relations Theory spectrum from Realism. Liberalism touts the ideas of unity between nations, and the creation of non-state entities such as the United Nations and WTO, and the expansion of cooperation and the linking of markets between nations. Liberalism has the benefit of creating a more peaceful existence than Realism, but also weakens nations because of the implicit restraint that large nations must hold themselves to in relation to weaker nations. For example, the General Assembly of the United Nations allows for one vote for one country, meaning a tiny country like Ireland has just as much say in that UN chamber as a large country like China or the United States. Liberalism does explain some of the U.S. invasion of…