Applying International Relation Theories to the Gulf War
The Persian Gulf is one of the most important regions in the world due to its political location, petroleum resources, Islamic nature, and cultural diversity. The gulf wars have generally affected the structures of the of the Persian Gulf. The major impact of the war led to the undermining of the Iraqis military and gave the US an opportunity to find its ways in the region. However, 2003 Iraqi invasion as the third gulf war created so much momentum in the region. The theories of international relations have been useful in explaining the war in very many ways. Several theories have been able to explain the gulf war.
In the 2003, the US made a subsequent move to invade Iraq and its forces occupied the nation under presidency of George W. Bush. The reason behind this action according to President Bush was the allegation that Iraq under President Saddam Hussein posed a great threat to the National security, and had weapons of mass destruction not forgetting his support for terrorism. The motive to enter Iraq was also steered by the September 2001 attacks. The main perpetrators were the Al Qaeda led by Osama and not Saddam Hussein. A memo by the American forces declared war on not only Osama but also Sadam Hussein (Smith 2007). Several American citizens were divided with regard to the move with some saying it could have been solved through negotiations. However, the Americans went ahead and overstayed in Iraq in the name on stabilizing and building the nation. This was also to ensure that there was a stable democratic government. Given this situation, let us focus now on the application of the theories of international relations, realism, liberalism, constructivism to have a look at this in the world of war and conflict.
Having a keen look at the Iraq war clearly stipulates two ideas. The first concept is international lawlessness and the issue of security. In terms of realism, it concentrates in the power distribution internationally as being the motive behind cross border politics. It gives a picture where the international system is portrayed as operating in a state of lawlessness since there seems no better way of settling conflicts. This clearly explains the reasons for the Iraq invasion. Initially, the US had pursued an action against Iraq through the UN Security Council but did not have enough support to do so. Through realism, it is clear that there is no formal world government, thus increasing the rates of international anarchy where Nations rely on their self-help. In as much as there was a United Nations body, which was thought to be general governing body to provide a neutral ground for all Nations, it was not functional. The US went ahead and invaded Iraq. This was not followed by any action by the body. Therefore, if there was a security concern regarding a given State, it was their own business since there was no much about some external help or aid.
There is also an explanation about security dilemma according to the realism explanation as it concerns the claims that the US meant that Iraq was having weapons of mass destruction. With regard to security dilemma, a state can never know the intentions of another state. The idea can lead to defensive mechanisms, which could be offensive. By the fact that the US thought that Iraq was getting dangerous, it was proven otherwise. However, the measures were taken by the US due to security dilemma. Through realism, power is also an issue to do with the war. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US saw itself as the only strong global super power. This would be explained in realism by the fact that it would use all its resources to kill any emerging powers. This in Iraq was to kill it, as it was an emerging economy powerhouse in the Middle East. The idea of building its mobilized democratic government was also aimed at blocking any other unfriendly government, especially by Iran to help build a democracy that would not champion their interests.
Through liberalism arguments, the Iraq invasion by the US can be supported or critiqued. In the first place, liberalism supports the idea of strengthened international bodies to control cross border conflicts. This would criticize the action of the US against Iraq as the US overlooked the existence of bodies like the United Nations and went ahead to invade Iraq. Liberization also believes in the democratic space and peace among Nations. By ousting Saddam and building a free democracy in the country, the liberalists fully support the action of the US.
Constructivism mainly focuses on the rules of International community and mutual organization of structures. This emphasizes some alterations in the international systems to ensure that Nations co exist according to set rules without breaching them like the way the US did break the UN laws. Through constructivism, the aspect of identity in the world of politics is also emphasized. In as much as many countries in the word possess weapons of mass destruction, there is a question of identity between the US and Iraq. The actions taken by any of the Nations directly affect its identity in relation to the other. These can be either binding or otherwise be negative, as it was the case of US and Iraq since at one point Sadam was a close ally of the US. The US and Iraq had earlier enjoyed a cordial relationship, which ended during this invasion time. There has been a bad identity even in the recent days in cases where particular people are seen in a different perspective other than their real identity’s case. For example, the Americans mostly see Muslims as terrorists, which was practically one of the reason the reason the US invaded Iraq.
According to this, we have seen the importance of applying the different theories in getting to know international relations. No theory is correct or wrong but they try to explain different aspects in international relations. For instance, concerning realism, power is not something to underrate, however, leaders use all means to defend their deeds by putting emphasis on a liberal phenomena about spreading democracy worldwide.
Constructivism puts weight on rules and identity, which are shaped by leaders and talk of the idea of change in the international systems, which is less regarded by current systems.
Using the above information, we have been able to analyze the interpretation of the theories in relation to the war. The theories have been used to explain the importance of the war for the international benefits. However, some cases have also shown that there are drawbacks involved in the application of the theories, which have led to negative effects among different Nations in terms of relations.
The US has been accused of sectarian interests that vividly played out in its invasion of Iraq. Politics of oil as has been cited by many publications and media criticism might have played a key role in influencing its decision. Major American corporations, such as Exxon Mobil had expressed interests in the vast oil and gas reserves that Iraq hold but were barred by pro-Saddam policies that advocated for nationalization of its oil wealth. The United States of America is the largest consumer of oil in the world hence has to ensure it has enough reserves to keep its industries running. The politics of oil has been cited as one of the major factors that has influenced America’s invasion into the Middle East countries, such as Iran and Iraq that have enormous oil and gas reserves but have weak governance structures. The greatest benefit of US invasion is that it has stabilized the Middle East region, which was known for hostile politics. The greatest consequence is that it has destroyed properties, wealth and led to loss of lives.
The Arab Spring is a revolution that started mainly in the North African country of Tunisia and spread like bushfire to Egypt and eventually to Libya. The Arab spring was primarily experienced in the Arab League countries where the residents sparked nationwide protests using social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. The citizens were decrying of poor governance structures in their countries that has led to the breeding of dictatorships and corruption. As a result, the cost of living had gone through the roof that made basic necessities such as food unavailable due to high rates of inflation. The protests were both violent and nonviolent. The US had been accused of funding rebels and protesters in countries, such as Libya. The greatest benefit of the Arab Spring is that it ushered in new forms of democratic leadership giving a lease of life to the oppressed citizens. The greatest consequence on the other hand is that it has led to massive destruction of property and wealth and due to security reasons; some of the countries now have military leadership, which has continuously deprived them off their rights.
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Smith, R., (2007). “Hussein’s Prewar Ties To Al-Qaeda Discounted”. The Washington Post, Retrieved on 23 April 2007.