The period beginning from the time Iraq was invaded has facilitated undermining of the pointed out underlying principles for war for the American administration. Many American people hold a belief that the administration deliberately engaged in misleading people regarding Iraq. Among the scholars in the field of foreign policy, this issue comes up on a regular basis and they ask themselves about the reasons for the United States of America invading Iraq. They ask the question as to whether the American government went to war based on an excessively aggressive evidence reading; and if this was so, what are the reasons for this? The scholars also ask whether the American government went to war in Iraq for the reasons that have not been stated, which move beyond Iraq like oil, or geopolitics (Cramer&Thrall n.d)
On the 22nd March, the year 2003, a declaration was made by President Bush that: “Our mission is clear, to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam’s support of terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people” (Prados 2004, p.13). Beginning from that time, a revelation has been made that the weapons of mass destruction threat did not stand to be the crucial threat that was affirmed by the American government and it was also revealed that Saddam did not have involvement with the Al Qaeda or the September 11 incident. Partially, due to such revelations, a larger number of the American people currently hold a belief that the Iraq Invasion was a miscalculated move and they also hold a belief that the American government engaged in the intentional misleading of the public in order to set up support for the Iraqi war. It is pointed out that; “lending credibility to public doubts is a growing number of critical scholarly analyses and in-depth journalistic investigations about the invasion” (Cramer&Thrall n.d, p.2). The big question still remains to be; what were the actual reasons why America invaded Iraq? The main purpose of this paper is to prove the hypothesis that: American intervention in Iraq is primarily due to oil security. The analysis is going to be based on the theories of realism and liberalism. In this research, secondary data, which basically involves the information that was provided by other people on the topic, is going to be used to prove the hypothesis.
The Bush Administration and the U.S Foreign Policy
Bush’s administration was candid regarding its global supremacy. In Bush’s “West Point” speech, it was declared that “America has, intends to keep, military strengths beyond challenge” (Lieberfeld 2005, p.3). Having this strategic goal, the removing of Saddam’s government from power can be considered as an attempt to promote the reputational and representational power of the United States of America beyond being challenged, especially after the 9/11 events, which might have caused this nation to appear defenseless (Lieberfeld 2005).
In addition, the moment President George Bush made a public declaration that the change of government in Iraq stood to be the main concern of the United States, this nation would have appeared not to be strong had it agreed to whatever compromise, which “left the Baathist regime intact” (Lieberfeld 2005, p.3). By putting the reputation of the United States of America at risk for the readiness of employing force on attaining the change in regime, President Bush made the war to be almost unavoidable because of a nationwide security interest in offering protection against that reputation (Lieberfeld 2005).
This reputation drive might as well offer an explanation as to why the administration of President Bush engaged in targeting Iraq instead of such Arab nations as Libyaamong others – the enemy nations whose concealed “weapons of mass destruction” program that was “more advanced, and potentially threatening to the U.S and its allies than Iraq’s was known to be (Lieberfeld 2005, p.3). In case a basic motivation for war was based on demonstrating resolve to the allies as well as enemies, “then this could not be as easily done against North Korea or Iran, which, due partly to their more advanced weaponry, were much more difficult targets for an invasion” (Lieberfeld 2005, p.3). Based on such logic, the government of Iraq was the target that was more convincing, partially for the reason that it indeed presented a minimal threat.
The fact that the USA stopped regular checking of weapons in Iraq can be grounded on a basis of the status drive. Later, in 2002, the country decided to retract inspectors from all over the world. If the case had been that the administration of President Bush basically aimed at discovering the dangerous weapons, then this would imply that its lack of cooperation with the requests made by the inspectors from the United Nations for additional time to complete “what was likely the most intrusive inspection regime ever undertaken, would seem counter-productive” (Lieberfeld 2005, p.4). But on the other hand, if the intention of the United States was basically to promote its reputation for the readiness to employ force in a unilateral manner, especially in regard to the concerns arising after the occurrence of the 9/11 attacks about the United States’ susceptibility appearance, then preventing finishing of the inspections of the United Nations, and agreeing to a less comprehensive war coalition Under the United States, “not U.N., leadership, can be understood in terms of rational calculation of security interests” (Lieberfeld 2005, p.4).
To deal with the issue concerning the reasons for Iraq being targeted in particular, realism would be used to point to the geostrategic location of Iraq that encroached on a number of the United States’ security concerns, as well as to the almost incomparable oil resources of Iraq that it could possibly engage in deploying against the interests of the United States (Lieberfeld 2005, p.4). The military bases within Iraq would make it possible for the United States of America to engage in projecting more power into Central Asia as well as into Africa and the Middle East and could engage in substituting the bases that are found to be less secure which were set up in Saudi Arabia during the time the Gulf war that took place in 1999 had come to an end (U.S Department of Defense 2003).
Therefore, in terms of realism, the invasion of Iraq was a logical means through which the United States could attain its basic objective of showing the power it had to its enemies as well as allies, and of evading “the appearance of post-9/11 decline” (Lieberfeld 2005, p.4). The United States invasion of Iraq also aimed at preventing the possible or actual utilization of the weapons of mass destruction and the oil resources by Iraq to pose dangers to the United States, and the invasion was also aimed at preventing the possible partnership of Iraq with the terrorist criminals. According to Mayer (2004), the national interests of the United States of America in guaranteeing the oil supply “at a time of diminishing domestic reserves and increased worldwide demand could also be achieved by military control of Iraq’s petroleum reserves, which, in a Baathist controlled Iraq, would have been exploited instead by America’s competitors” (Mayer 2004, p.1).
The shift that occurred after the Cold war to unipolar instead of bipolar power distribution, was a liberal invasion decision caused in a way that did away with a check on the actions of the United States: The United States invasion of Iraq would not have taken place had Iraq been a “Soviet client state, as in the Cold war” (Lieberfeld 2005, p.4). Moving to unipolarity as well encouraged the United States of America to engage in affirming its military-political supremacy to counter whatever physical or representative challenges like the September 11 terrorist attacks. Based on this, the September 11 attacks make up “a proximate, near-term cause of the Iraq invasion decision” (Lieberfeld 2005, p.4).
A subordinate drive for toppling the Iraqi government, based on the realist point of view, would be to raise the level of security in Israel, which is the major regional associate of the United States. In making an assertion that “the road to Jerusalem goes through Baghdad” (Lieberfeld 2005, p.4), the U.S defense secretary, Mr. Wolfowitz, among other officials made an assumption that losing Iraqi support would make the Palestinian militancy to become weaker in having conflict with Israel and would “facilitate an Israeli-Palestinian accord in terms acceptable to Israel” (Lieberfeld 2005, p.4). The U.Sgovernment expected that the U.S military is present in Iraq, which would cause Syria to be pressured. Syria was regarded by Israel as well as the United States as being an adversary. The military of the United States could as well utilize its base in post-war Iraq together with the United States bases that were there in Afghanistan, to force Iran to bring an end to the nuclear program it had put in place, or even assist to make the regime change and to be effective in Teheran (Gordon 2004). In conclusion, beyond the objective of characteristically setting up dominion, the Iraq war would boost extending of control by the United States to southwest Asia and to the other surrounding regions. The war would also play a major part in assisting in containing as well as pressuring the adversaries. By looking at things in this way, the goal of ensuring the conservation and joining of the United States quasi-hegemonic world supremacy would actually be served by undertaking destabilization nations that brought in the real or possible challenges, in line with the policy of the U.S administration of preventive war staged against nations that are believed to be building the weapons of mass destruction.
Realist Viewpoint Implications
The rational-choice viewpoint of realism, which holds that leaders make a choice to have war at the time they hold a belief that it is essential to take such a step for the national security, has remarkable explanatory power, but it was “complicated by the Bush administration’s exaggeration of the imminence and magnitude of the security threat that Iraq posed” (Lieberfeld 2005, p.5). The public warnings of the Bush administration of a “mushroom cloud”, which Iraq could engage in unleashing, and the administration’s contentions regarding the alleged acquisition by Iraq of the aluminum as well as uranium tubes for the manufacture of the weapons, bring about the issue of how Iraq as a nation could have been seen as being adequately threatening to a level that it could warrant invasion, considering what was admitted by a former policymaker in the administration that there was “a complete lack of evidence of any imminence of hostile attack by Iraq” (Haass, 2005, p.94).
No foundation existed for the affirmation made by the Bush administration that there could be no preventing of Iraq from fighting the United States and its partners, lest an assumption was made that the decision-makers of the Iraqi government were found to be completely unreasonable. But on the other hand, there is a possibility that the officials in the administration had a genuine belief that the security of the United States relied on an effective attack of Iraq, and intentionally exaggerated the alleged threat so that they could receive the local as well as global support. On one hand, this explanation may comport with the realist perspective, on the other hand, drawing a conclusion that the leaders of the United States were influenced by the psychological as well as ideological factors of a looming threat where there was actually none, is not consistent with the realist perspective, “as are interpretations attributing a causal role to the interests of elite domestic constituencies” (Lieberfeld 2005, p.5).
Realism gives an implication that for as long as the United States of America has an aspiration to have a hegemonic standing and has adequate knowledge about its own security to have reliance on the expression of irresistible military power, this nation will be forced to offer a response to whatever potential or actual invasion on either itself or on its allies “as if its vital national security interests were threatened” (Lieberfeld 2005, p.5). The United States is faced with fewer restraints as compared to the time of the Cold war, time world power possessed a common interest in evading direct conflict and has, on an increasing level, taken up a policy of engaging in the defensive war.
But on the other hand, the preventive war policy itself may likely unintentionally promote actions by the challenger nations, which pose a threat to the aspiring hegemony. In most particular, the potential targets of the United States will consider their nuclear weapon building and use, as being a rational and essential response to lack of security prompted by the efforts of the United States of ensuring “its own security” (Lieberfeld 2005, p.6).
Based on the liberal theories, a decision to go to war by a particular nation is determined by the internal features of the nation, especially its form of government. The decision is also determined by international law’s manipulation. World security is determined by the increasing level of trade as well as democracy and is also determined by the functions of conflict control of the global organizations. Just as it is the case with the realist perspective, there is incorporating by the liberalism of a number of interrelated international relations models. For instance, the Kantian/Wilsonian idealist perspective is on the basis of the notion that having more fairness brings about more peace, as well as the intimately linked liberal peace concept that makes an assertion that, democracies don’t engage in fighting each other. Thus, in narrow terms, crusading liberals support employing force in substituting the dictatorships with democracies, “insofar as propagating democracy and human rights enhances U.S national security and that of other democracies” (Lieberfeld 2005, p.6).
On one hand, the democracies that are established do not engage in fighting one another, on the other hand, these democracies are vulnerable to war with the non-democratic nations. Among the elucidations for this is the notion that the democracies are afraid that those nations that are non-democratic and do not have governmental checks and balances, as well as clearness regarding utilization of force, are thus in a position of capitalizing on the slower deployment of democratic challengers by being the first ones to attack. Due to the reason that they have anticipation that the dictatorships are found to be more capable and are ready to utilize tricks, the democracies turn out to be more violent and war-vulnerable when they make out the threats coming from non-democracies (Russett 1993). Based on this, the move to decide to undertake an invasion may be comprehended by considering the fright that the Bush administration had that; Iraq would lie to the inspectors of weapons and build or deploy the weapons for mass destruction in a secret manner for an invasion of the United States or even its partners.
The support of how relevant the liberal theory can be to the decision by the United States to invade Iraq can be traced to the counterfactual question, “would the U.S have invaded if Iraq had been a democracy?”(Lieberfeld2005, p.6). The probable answer here is no. Lieberfeld (2005) points out that, apart from the mature democracies having not fought each other, it is also debatable as to whether or not the public and the Congress would have encouraged the invasion “had Iraq not been a dictatorship” (Lieberfeld 2005, p.6). The differences in the forms of regime tend to have been at any rate a liberal reason for the war.
Affirmations of the pre-eminence of the liberal drives for attacking Iraq were made complicated by the Bush administration’s pre-September 11 refutations of the liberal main concerns like nation-building that the President vilified in the course of the presidential debates of the year 2000. But on the other hand, the Bush administration’s actually drastic shift might, in part, give an explanation to the September 11 terrorist attacks, which amplified the security justification for instilling democracy by force in the Middle East: Based on the liberal point of view, the September 11 terrorist attacks, carried out by the citizens of the non-democratic nations found in the Middle East, though Iraq not included, offered a fresh and compelling motivation for the United States of America to engage in utilizing its power in promoting war, with the hope of having a favorable “spillover through the region” (Lieberfeld 2005, p.7).
However, the liberal motives do not offer an explanation for either the move to particularly targeting Iraq or “key administration members’ pre-9/11 advocacy of regime change in Baghdad” (Lieberfeld 2005, p.7). The elucidations focusing on the liberal ideology are as well made complex by the piece of evidence that the objective of the invasion to overturn the Iraq government is not allowed in international law. The Bush administration overlooked liberal principles by bypassing United Nations on this issue. A famous rationale for bringing Saddam Hussein’s oppressive totalitarianism to an end was to defend human rights and safeguard the Iraqi people so that they could no longer live in misery. It is purported that President George Bush engaged in reading about the human rights abuses that were taking place in Iraq and after reading these reports, this “gave him the sort of moral clarity that was necessary to make the decision to invade” (Schweizer & Schweizer 2004, p.540). Yet, no immense violations of human rights were taking place during the period of the invasion, and the Bush administration didn’t then give a suggestion that the concerns regarding human rights were a main driver for the decision to invade.
The liberal elucidations are as well challenging as the United States of America administration unavoidably engages in citing the liberal principles in their justifications for staging war. Because the United States is found to be a democracy that is liberal, the makers of decisions find it to be convenient to call for the public to support wars in liberal conditions, even if the motives like these may indeed be of very small relevance. But on the other hand, there is the likelihood that those who make decisions had an honest drive resulting from liberal objectives, whose attainment they believed served to give a reason for the utilization of the means that were not liberal.
Most of the investigations that emphasize the sub-state look at the way local constituencies’ actions have effects the choices that implicate warfare and the armed forces. Instead of considering war as executed in an external way by the global system, various points of view draw their attention to the interest groups as well as institutions, which are found to be endogenous to the nation. For instance, a Marxist point of view puts it into consideration that the external wars are provoked by “the bourgeoisie to control new markets and to protect its class dominance by deflecting socioeconomic pressures arising from the proletariat” (Lieberfeld 2005, p.7).
Based on related diversionary war theory, it is found out that a revolutionary or illegal regime finds the external adversaries being valuable politically and starts a war as being a means to realize self-legitimization and creating mass consensus concerning its policies as well as conquering domestic conflicts and divisions. From such a point of view, President Bush, being in need of the acceptability of an uncorrupted electoral win, capitalized on the available political opportunity that was brought in by the September 11 terrorist attacks to cover himself “in the legitimizing mantle of ‘war president’ during the brief conflict in Afghanistan and then invaded Iraq to prolong the politically favorable climate that war engendered” (Lieberfeld 2005, p.8).
Based on the assumption that is made that; leaders highly value their own political existence more than reified national interest, a conclusion is drawn by Bueno de Mesquita (2002) that “international relations is, simply put, a venue for politicians to gain or lose domestic political advantage” (Bueno de Mesquita, 2002, p.1). Since the dedication of citizens to the welfare of the nation is taken to a higher level by these citizens’ nationalistic responses to the threats that may be perceived, the nationalist feelings from war reverberate to the benefit of the party that is in power. Because the leaders in the democratic nations presumably have fear of electoral retribution for taking part in the expensive, long, and losing battles or wars, they make a decision to engage in war basically at the time they hold a strong belief that they are dealing with a weak enemy. Therefore, the war was the result of the hopes that the officials of the Bush administration had, that the Republican Party would gain from “a rally-round-the-flag effect during a war against Iraq, as Bush’s father’s administration had in 1991, and that U.S forces would again achieve a relatively easy victory” (Lieberfeld 2005, p.8).
In addition, there was the expectation of war to rebound the attention of the media as well as that of the public from the ostensible unawareness about the terrorist dangers in the course of the Bush government’s initial three quarters of a year in power and to assist in evading responsibility for its lack of success to offer prevention against the September 11 terrorist attacks. The war would as well divert attention from the lack of ability of the administration to find Osama or the senior members around him and its lack of ability to offer prevention against the reappearance of the “Taliban in Afghanistan” (Lieberfeld 2005, p.8).
Senior Bush had assisted Saddam’s Iraq with financial aid, weapons, as well as military intelligence in the course of the war between Iraq and Iran. The members that held high positions in the administration of junior Bush had as well supported Saddam’s totalitarianism through the positions they held in former governments and also in the positions they had earlier on held as managers in private companies. Such officials might have put into consideration the idea that overthrowing Saddam Hussein’s government would remove or reward such morally unclear and possibly politically detrimental histories. Even if triggering a war for distracting motives may tend to be irrationally risky, some cognitive biases may have brought down the level of the risks in the minds of the leaders in the Bush administration (Lieberfeld 2005).
The nations’ interests are additionally disaggregated by the bureaucratic-politics explanations, which makes an assumption that the governments are made up of sections, and one of which may encourage war to facilitate advancing of its interests, “in the intra-elite competition for power” (Lieberfeld 2005, p.8). Clarifications like these point out the motivations for war arising from the benefits, which the war is anticipated to deliberate on the organizational as well as administrative interests.
An analysis like this might point out the military interest of the United States of America in the justification of its budgets, which are found to be even bigger as compared with the time of Cold war, in spite of the absence of any threat to the United States of America, “comparable to that posed by the Soviet Union” (Lieberfeld 2005, p.9).In this line, it is quite important that a larger number of the leaders concerning the Iraq policy such as Cheney and Rumsfeld, among other high-ranking leaders in the Bush administration, devoted significant portions of their professions in Pentagon. These people supported higher military budgets. The military of the United States of America is not intended to engage in deploying against indefinable non-state players such as al-Qaeda that needs to have a more complex but less costly response; as compared to the way it is to stage a war against a nation like Iraq. In addition, as the Defense Secretary, Rumsfeld claimed, “Iraq presented a target of convenience from the military perspective”(Clarke 2004, p.31). The Defense Secretary as well supported a plan to transform the military, featuring a fighting force that was smaller and had higher dependence on the special tasks and advanced technology like precision bombing. Looking at things from this point of view, a portion of the motivation to engage in the invasion was to boost the resources of the military and also to boost the implementation of the transformational plan put across by Rumsfeld (Lieberfeld 2005).
The administrative motivations for the invasion may as well have come up from the priorities that the military decision-makers had for invasive strategies over the self-protective ones, and also from the military planning inflexibility. In the course of the long lead-up to the Iraq invasion, “and the months-long positioning of U.S troops in the region, it is possible that war plans and the process of war planning became policy by their own momentum” (Woodward 2004, p.3).
The objective to overturn the Iraqi government as well offered a response to the interest of the military in rejecting suppression policy, which the elder President Bush set up to Iraq. Looking at things from the military point of view, Iraq containment was risky and difficult: In order to realize enforcement of no-fly zones, which covered a larger portion of this country, the United States military had to engage in flying a very large number of sorties, constantly threatened by “anti-aircraft guns and missiles and occasionally having to bomb Iraqi artillery” (Lieberfeld 2005, p.9). Each and every one of these undertakings, which did not even have a deadline, carried with it the danger of having the pilots of the U.S aircraft getting apprehended or even slain and also had the danger of the expensive planes getting destroyed.
The role of the United States intelligence agencies is to inform the political leaders of this country reading the dangers that the enemy nations pose to the United States. For the reason that the CIA boss, among other intelligence agency bosses, works based on the wish of the president, they encounter pressures to engage in accommodating the perceived priorities of the president. Subsequently, these officials engage in exercising their influence over the jobs of those who are working under them. Since the intelligence experts have the awareness about the fact that either promoting or challenging the executive leaders’ preferred policies can have an effect on their own administrative interests, these people may have engaged in allowing either “explicit or implicit political pressures to distort the objectivity of policy on Iraq” (Lieberfeld 2005, p.9).
British intelligence’s leader did not have any doubt and believed that by the middle of the year 2002, the government of President Bush had made a private commitment to invade Iraq and that the administration was basically concerned with making arrangements for a political justification involving the weapons of mass destruction and terrorism. In case, in the year 2002, some analysts of the United States intelligence as well perceived that the head of state had already the determination to undertake the invasion, and offered a response to such an assumption by doing away with warnings in their evaluations of whether or not Iraq posed a danger of weapons of mass destruction, “then their biases should not be considered casual unless the intelligence officials’ assumption that the president was already determined to invade Iraq was incorrect” (Lieberfeld 2005, p.10). In case assumptions like these were found to be correct, then the twisted approximations were an effect resulting from the decision made at the White House and not a cause. However, bureaucratic contact like this can be regarded as being a lenient cause of the war and this is for the reason that the “October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate” assisted in making “possible the Congressional vote in November that authorized the invasion” (Lieberfeld 2005, p.10).
The vested interests theories point out the way the business interests, as well as political dishonesty, serve as an incentive for the politician to engage in supporting wars. Considering things from this point of view, the motivation for setting up the Iraq war came out not just from the energy companies of the United States’ interests with the financial as well as political ties to the President Bush’s administration, the motivation also came up from the many billion dollars, which the United States of American would engage in allocating for the military as well as rebuilding costs in Iraq. The privatization plans that were preferred by the resident Bush’s government required that there would be awarding of a larger portion of this immense income in contracts to the privately owned companies. The companies, which stood to gain more, were the companies whose officers had the tendency to back President Bush and his fellow Republicans. Therefore, for the administrators in the Bush government, projected war value was that the company officials would give recompenses to the administration in form of considerable campaign donations.
Anunpolished account of the “interest-group determinism” (Lieberfeld 2005, p.10) would uphold that the business interest groups, who had a chance to gain from the invasion, were successful in pushing the Bush administration to undertake theIraq invasion so that they could bring up the level of their profits. An account that is more nuanced might present an affirmation that the expected monetary as well as political gains resulting from war “were a tipping factor” (Lieberfeld 2005, p.10). The decision-makers in the government persuaded themselves that invading Iraq was a vital move towards realizing security in the country, while monetary as well as political self-interest indeed played an important, and possibly influential, inspiring part.
Senior members in the Bush administration did have their own monetary interests in companies within the defense as well as construction and energy industries, the industries that were in a position of gaining from the government contracts that were to be undertaken in Iraq. Conceivably more logically important were the post-invasion revealed priorities of the administration: It engaged in undertaking distribution of contracts, worthy multi-billion dollars, to the companies, which had backed President Bush and his party and had offered them political contributions, without having the awards being subjected to the congressional as well as international oversight (Lieberfeld 2005). While not essentially showing causation, the anticipatable and exceptionally huge gains coming from the Iraq invasion and also from the post-invasion control for the company profits to which “high administration officials had financial and political ties complicate the national-interest model of decision-making in realism” (Lieberfeld 2005, p.10).
Elite-Interests/Liberal Standpoints and their implications
The explanations that put emphasis on the war influence by the political elites for their financial, as well as political gain, suggest that faults in the system’s checks on the executive made it possible for the administration of President Bush to invade Iraq based on the biased political objectives of the administration. The liberal theory puts it into consideration that people’s power to engage in voting leaders out of power will discourage the leaders from triggering a war in an unnecessary manner because the costs associated with the war are incurred by the public. The structural precaution put on the executive branch’s war-creating powers were found not to be effective and this was for the reason that the conventional media did not play its role effectively as being an overseer, because the Congress majorly failed to engage in questioning the claim presented by the executive that Iraq posed a great danger, and also because the Bush administration’s utilization of deficit expenditure and evasion of general conscription makes it possible for a larger portion of the public to hold a belief that they would to protected from incurring the costs associated with the war.
Thus negotiated, the democratic government structures may not be sufficient any longer to contain leaders who trigger wars that are not necessary. Sub-state makes analysis, which connects war to the expected political gains, suggest that the chosen wars will only come to a halt after losing public support and makes the executive, as well as Congress, engage in reversing evaluations of the political gains and costs of the war.
The liberal theories suggest that the United States of America will go on prioritizing overthrowing nations that are non-democratic, which it regards as being enemies. In case the predictive aspects of the theories of liberalism are true, then the effective Iraq democratization “may spill over and create pressures and incentives for democratization in neighboring states” (Lieberfeld 2005, p.11). However, to the level that the invasion by the United States of America does not succeed in producing an appropriate Iraq government that is stable, it may bring about a counterattack against democracy within the region and other regions: There may be losing of lawfulness by the liberal values in as much as they may tend to be questioned by the actions of the United States.
The liberal theories don’t undertake the prediction of whether or not the democracies will facilitate pursuing of the overthrow of the government in a military way against the totalitarianisms, which have warning weapons of mass destruction. In instances like these, it is quite possible that the democracies would return to the self-protective strategies of control. There would be an unlikelihood for the democracies to take part in possibly nuclear battle with the non-democracies, except they were the first ones to be attacked, or if they were “more imminently and directly threatened than was the case with Iraq” (Lieberfeld 2005, p.11).
Global Security versus Oil Security
In their research, Cramer and Thrall (n.d) established that Richard Cheney played a major role in the process of decision making in regard to Iraq invasion. Out of the respondents they contacted, ninety three percent of them pointed out that Cheney was a quite influential person in making the decision to invade Iraq, with the then head of state, President Bush coming in the fourth place after the Defense Secretary, Rumsfeld, and the neo-cons. According to Cramer and Thrall, this partially seems that the demotion of President Bush gives a reflection of the focus of the respondents on the neo-con ideology as the intellectual motivating force in operation (Cramer& Thrall n,d). But on the other hand, this as well tends to give a reflection of the sentiment on the part of a large number of people that Richard Cheney together with his associates in the entire administration were found to be the motivating administrative force in operation.
The significance of Cheney is “worth extended consideration because of its connection to the second most popular factor behind the decision to invade Iraq: oil” (Cramer&Thrall n.d, p.14). In their research, Cramer andThrall found out that, for a large number of respondents, focusing on oil tended to be entwined with a conviction that Richard Cheney was found to be the main player in making the nation to go to war(Cramer&Thrall n.d). However, it is found to be surprising that even if oil was mentioned as being the second greatest reason for going to war, it was not mentioned by the Bush administration as being as rationale for going to war with Iraq. Also, even if the unanimity concerning Cheney is in one way or the other not a surprise, a large number of observers have presented an argument that Richard Cheney was the most powerful Vice President in the United States’ history, it is nonetheless notable for the reason that the policymakers as well as academicshardly come to an agreement to this level about anything (Ron 2006). The pivotal role played by Cheney has been found to receive widespread endorsement as compared to any other arguments that has been presented concerning the process of making decisions concerning the Iraqi war (Cramer&Thrall n.d).
The question that comes in is that, what might have served to motivate Cheney? In regard to this question, Cramer andThrall findings indicate that about seventy percent of those who were contacted ranked the issue of “to assert U.S dominance in the New American Century” as being the highest factor for Cheney motivation (Cramer&Thrall, n.d, p.14).
The Origin of the Oil Security Concerns
As on one hand the intimate connection with Israel is found to be certainly a significant factor in the policy of the United States of America within the Gulf region, on the other hand, claims have also been presented that the underlying drive has been found to be the oil wealth of Iraq as well as its prospect for exploitation by the United States-based multinational companies. The element of this may be traced in the foreign policy of the United States of America, and undoubtedly, there exists sufficient evidence that the United States-based companies have seen Iraq as being a quite lucrative region of operations. Though, for the larger part, the focus of the profitability has been put on the reconstruction programs instead of being put on the oil reserve exploitation, even if this may turn out to be of greater significance in time to come. Simultaneously, the actual significance of Iraq can be traced less in the immediate needs for profitability and more in the broader issues concerning oil security, a portion of a pattern, which has been a defense policy feature for several decades and not even just years.
In turn, this has been found to be an even “longer-term process of economic evolution” (Rogers 2006, p.2). Based on “international political policy” wider terms, it is found out that a larger number of nations that were the first ones to become industrialized like Britain set up their industries based on the availability of raw materials within their states. A larger number of the nations in Europe used all of most of their main energy as well as mineral reserves in the course of the nineteenth century and during the early twentieth century and imported what they required, on an increasing level and mostly from their colonies. The only exception to such a trend was the U.S, which stayed to be nearly completely self-sufficient in the energy as well as mineral needs up to the second half of the 1900s. This shift in the trend of the resource needs of the United States, and particularly oil, within the last forty years, motivates much of the present-day security policy of this nation in ‘the Persian Gulf” (Rogers 2006, p.2).
In the actual sense, the fears over the oil supply security indeed date back even earlier, to the World War II period and the concerns, which the administration of President Roosevelt, that the immense war-time oil needs might be more than what we’re at that time, abundant local supply. This played a great role in convincing the government of the United States of America in the initial post-war period that it was vital to established intimate links with such nations as Iran as well as Saudi Arabia, which, during that period, had been indicated to be having quite remarkable oil reserves (Rogers 2006).
Even during the start of the 1950s, a time the U.S was still nearly completely self-sufficient in terms of the oil reserves, a concern came up that the abundant oil reserves in the Persian Gulf would be an “a focus for Soviet attention in the event of an East-West confrontation” (Rogers 2006, p.2). This was a very strong drive for the Anglo-American crusade aimed at overthrowing the Mossadegh government in the year 1953 in Iran after nationalizing the oil sector, making sure that Iran would then become a client nation under the Shah’s strong rule (Rogers 2006).
By the starting of the 1970s, the global oil requirements had increased tremendously, having discovery of a larger number of new reserves within the Middle East as well as North America, particularly in nations that are found nearby the Persian Gulf. Even if developing the oil fields in the North Sea was valuable to such nations as Britain and Norway, “even at their peak the North Sea reserves amounted to less than 4% of total world reserves” (Rogers 2006, p.2), and a larger part of Western Europe stayed to be reliant on the imports, the same way Japan did together with the rest of tiger economies found in South Asia like South Korea. Of greater importance still was found to be the rise in the United States oil import reliance. In spite of rigorous search in the offshore areas of the “Gulf of Mexico”, and also even with the building of fresh field within Alaska, the U.S was steadily going towards a considerable import dependency (See Appendix 2).
In the meantime, OPEC, founded in the year 1990, was starting to undertake coordination of the pricing policies among its member nations, particularly the nations found in the Middle East, with even this going to the level of acquiring direct influence over the oil corporations, as indicated by Libya’s Gaddafi regime during the start of the 1970s. Even if the ambitions that OPEC had were comparatively modest, “there was a major change as a result of the Yom Kippur/Ramadan War of 1973” (Rogers 2006, p.2).
To bring influence over the major western governments in order to receive an early end to hostilities between Israel and rebellious forces of Syria as well as Egypt, the OPEC members who were Arabs utilized oil as being a political defense, bringing together embargoes and production cutbacks as well as price increases in an entirely unexpected way (See Appendix 1). The instant effect which was felt in the middle of the month of October, the year 1973, was a rise in the price of more than seventy percent, and this set in motion “an all-time ‘bull’ market that saw oil prices rise by over 400% by the middle of 1974” (Rogers 2006, p.2). This led to a great impact on the global economyand it as well contributed towards having a U.S security position reappraisal in the Gulf, a large number of studies having indicated that the U.S military didn’t possess the greatly mobile quick reaction forces, which would have been required in case there had been requiring of direct military involvement in order to ensure oil supplies security is maintained (Rogers 2006).
Such a sense of susceptibility encouraged having measures taken to ensure there is the creation of the joint military forces, even though this was complicated by the inter-service rivalries. As it turned out, bringing together of Iranian Revolution, “the hostage crisis in Tehran and the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan at the end of the 1970s combined to give an added urgency to the establishment of the Joint Deployment Task Force” (Rogers 2006, p.3). By the start of the 1980s, the “Rapid Deployment Task Force” was to uplift a united military command known as CENTCOM or Central Command, which originally, had the responsibility of protecting the interests of the United States in several nations forming an arch starting from Kenya to Pakistan. However, this became broader and started to encompass post-Soviet nations of central Asia (Rogers 2006).
Even if there had been evaporating of the prospective Soviet impact by the year 1990, the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq and its defeat that followed, indicated the value, basing on the United States perspective, of having maintenance of military dominance within the Gulf. Apart from Iraq remaining the regime of Saddam, Iran on the other hand remained to be inordinately against the rulers of U.S. and the rulers of Saudi Arabia were gradually more apprehensive at having the United States military being based in “the Kingdom of the Two Holy Places” (Rogers 2006, p.3).
The United States concerns are based on three factors and these are; the power over the Persian Gulf in order to control the oil reserves, the United States’ rising reliance on the oil imports, and emerging of China as being a key importer of oil and a potential competitor, particularly in looking for influence within the Persian Gulf area (Rogers 2006). Considering the oil reserves, there are considerable figures, even giving room for a trend of some nations that are oil-rich to engage in over-estimating the oil reserves they have. Such nations as Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Iran jointly have approximately forty-three percent of the global oil reserves, ”with Kuwaiti and Emirates oil taking the region’s reserves to at least 60%” (Rogers 2006, p.3). In case there is an addition of the Caspian Basin as well as Russian oil, and the oil of Venezuela, then about seventy-five percent of the global oil reserves “are accounted for” (Rogers 2006, p.3).
Considering oil import dependency, it is found out that in the year 1970, the U.S engaged in importing approximately ten percent of the total oil it required, and much of this oil was imported from Venezuela due to the cheap supplies availability. By the year 1981, the oil import had gone up to thirty-seven percent. This percentage rose even further to fifty-seven percent by the year 2001 and by the year 2021, it is projected that the level of the oil import will go beyond sixty percent if there will be no full exploitation of the newer reserves in Alaska. On one hand, a larger percentage of the U.S imported oil is still obtained from Latin America, on the other hand, sub-Saharan Africa, as well as some nations in the Persian Gulf, are becoming significant on an increasing level. In addition, the immense oil reserves in the Gulf will guarantee an increasingly higher reliance on this area for oil needs (Rogers 2006).
Analysis of Changes in Oil and the Iraq War
According to Clark (2004), although clearly suppressed in the media of the United States of America, “one of the answers to the Iraq enigma is simple yet shocking”(Clark 2004, sp.1). The Iraq war was basically found to be all about the way the CIA and the Federal Reserve as well as the way the Bush administration consider hydrocarbons found at geostrategic level, and “the unspoken but overarching macroeconomic threats to the U.S dollar from the euro” (Clark 2004, p.1). The actual Motives for the Iraq war was the objective of the Bush administration to offer prevention against more OPEC drive in the direction of the euro as becoming a currency standard for undertaking oil transactions. The Bush administration aimed at gaining geostrategic influence over Iraq together with its large oil reserves (Clark 2004).
It was found out that, even if a joint shift undertaken by OPEC would prove to be quite improbable to bar a great panic on the American dollar, this would seem that a progressive transition was very possible. In addition, in spite of Saudi Arabia becoming the United States’ client nation, the government of Saudi Arabia tended to be progressively endangered from immense civil turbulence. A belief was held by some experts that the civil turbulence might develop within Saudi Arabia as well as in Iran among other nations in the Gulf in the outcome of a detested Iraq war. The American administration certainly had extreme awareness of these kinds of danger. Therefore, the neo-conservative agenda necessitated an immense and long-lasting soldierly presence within the Persian Gulf in the period after Saddam had been overthrown, in the event, there was the need to surround and also regulate the Ghawar oil fields.
It was reported by Radio Free Europe on 1st November, the year 2000, that Iraq had switched from using the U.S dollar to the euro and this switch was aimed at rebuking the U.S’s insistence on sanctions and give encouragement to the European nations to engage in challenging it. But it was also reported that the impact that would result from deciding to use the euro will have both negative and positive consequences (Clark 2004).
During the time of the switch, a large number of analysts were astonished that Saddam had the willingness to give up over two hundred and seventy million dollars in oil revenue “for what appeared to be a political statement” (Clark 2004 p.1). But on the other hand, as opposed to one of the major points of an article that appeared in the month of November, the year 2000, the constant dollar depreciation against the euro beginning from towards the end of the year 2001 implied that Iraq had greatly benefited from that switch in the reserve as well transaction currencies (Clark 2004).
It is also reported that even if the oil currency switch of Iraq tends to be entirely suppressed by the media corporations of the United States, the United Kingdom article gave an illustration that the euro had gained about twenty five percent versus the dollar beginning from the end of 2001, which is as well applicable to the “$10 billion in Iraq’s U.N” oil for food reserve fund that was previously held in dollars had also gained that same percent value since the switch” (Clark 2004, p.1). In the year 2003, it was reported that the U.N reserve fund of Iraq had grown to twenty six billion euros from ten billion U.S dollars (Clark 2004).
It was also projected that after overthrowing the Saddam regime, the Bush administration might make a decision that the lack of loyalty of Iran to the American dollar would qualify them as being the next target in “the war on terror” (Clark 2004, p.1). The concern of Iran in choosing to switch to the euro as being their oil exports currency is widely recorded. It was reported in the Newsweek of 11 August, the year 2002 that; as on one hand there is still quarreling over how to overthrow the Saddam regime, the administration of President Bush was already seeking other targets. Bush had called for the overthrowing of YasirAraft, the Palestine leader. Other people in this administration were also eyeing other countries such as Iran and one senior official in the British government pointed out that “everyone wants to go to Baghdad. Real men want to go to Tehran”(Clark 2004, p.1).
It was projected that, starting from the year 2004 up 2008, basing on an economic, monetary as well as trade point of view, it would turn out to be rational for the OPEC producers to engage in transitioning to the euro in regard to pricing of oil. In fact this would bring down the level of the dollar’s global demand and this would indeed hurt the capacity of the United States to undertake funding of its huge debt lest the policy makers in the U.S government start making hard monetary as well as fiscal changes straightaway, or employ their immense power to facilitate forcing events on OPEC (Clark 2004).
Confronted with these possibilities, it can be pointed out that Bush had intentions to overthrow Saddam in the year2003 in a preventative effort to engage in initiating the immense oil production in Iraq in far larger quotas, to bring down the level of the world oil prices, and in that way pull apart the price controls undertaken by OPEC. The neo-conservative’s final goal isextremely gallant but simple in drive, to utilize the fight against terrorism as being the basis to eventually disbandthe decision making process of OPEC nations, thereby eventually thwarting the unavoidable switch of associations to pricing of oil in terms of euros. The question that would come up is in regard to how the administration of President Bushwould engage in breaking up the price controls of the OPEC cartels in “a post-Saddam Iraq” (Clark 2004, p.1). For instance, freshly installedleader from the United States, General Garner, would undertake changingof the oil exports of Iraq back to U.S dollar standard. In addition, basing on an article presented in the Washington Post, it was reported before the commencement of the Iraq Invasion that, “one of the pre-determined decisions of the ‘Iraqi interim authority’ in a postwar economy is to drop the Iraq dinar, and convert Iraq to the U.S dollar” (Clark 2004,p.1).
It is clear that the Americans were unaware of the possible economic dangers concerning Iraq invasion. The administration of President Bush held a belief that by overthrowing Saddam Hussein, they would eliminate the juggernaut, thereby giving room for the United States to take control of Iraq’s immense oil reserves, and eventually breaking up and dissolving the remaining ten OPEC nations. But on the other hand, the Iraq occupation by the United States could aggravate tensions in OPEC nations or even Iran, offering more motivation for the push to price oil in euros.
Many questions have come up concerning the actual reasons why the U.S invaded Iraq. A large number of Americans are certain that the Bush administration deliberately deceived the citizens regarding the Iraq war. Some researcherson the U.S foreign policy regularly inquire about the reasons for the United States going to war with Iraq. As it has been established in the paper, the Bush administration used some mischief to receive the global and the domestic support to go to war. However, the actual reason for the American intervention in Iraq is primarily due to oil security. The U.S. government presented reasons for intervention such as, taking the weapons of mass destruction from Iraqand making Iraq and the world to be secure, free from terrorism. The time President Bush made a proclamation that the overturning if the Iraq government was the major concern of the United States, this nation would have appeared not to be strong had it agreed to whatever compromise, which left the Baathist governmentin one piece. By exposing the status of the United States of America to risk for the readiness of employing force in order to achieve change of government in Iraq, President Bush caused the Iraq invasion to become almost unavoidable because of the national security interest in offering protection against that nation’s status. However, clear analysis shows that the United States had some other motives for invading Iraq.
The public admonitions of the American government of a “mushroom cloud”, that Iraq could release, and the government’s arguments concerning the purportedprocurement by Iraq of the uranium tubes for the weapon production, bring about the idea of how Iraq could have been considered as effectively threatening to the point that it deserved to be invaded, putting into consideration what was confessed by a former policy maker within the Bush administration that there was no any amount of evidence of any contact of aggressive attack by Iraq. There was no base for the proclamation made by the administration which indicated that there could be no preventing Iraq from attacking the U.S or its allies, lest it was assumed that the influential people in or decision makers of Iraq were found to be totallyirrational. However, there islikelihood that the officers in the Bush administration had a sincere belief that the United States’ security was dependent on an operative invasion of Iraq, and purposelyoverstated the purported threat in order that they could obtain the local and international support. While such an explanation may go in line with the realist point of view, concluding that the decision makers in the United States government were under the influence of the psychological and ideological factors of animpending threat where there was essentially none, is not in line with the realist point of view, as are clarifications attributing an unpremeditated role to the elite domestic constituencies’interests.
Moreover, considering liberalism theory, the liberal drives do not provide an explanation for either the move to particularly target Iraq or main administration members’ pre-9/11 support of the change of regime change in Iraq. The analyses putting focus on the liberal philosophy are as well made complicated by the evidence that the objective of the Iraq was to have change of government is not permitted in international law. The U.S administration ignored liberal main beliefs by bypassing U.N on this matter. A well-knownrationalization for ending Saddam’s domineeringrepression to was to safeguard human rights as well as defend the Iraqis from going through more pain. It is claimed that Bush was reading about the abuse of the human rights, which were occurring in Iraq and after reading these reports, this offered him some kind of ethicalclearness that was required to decision to undertake an invasion. But, no immense violations of human rights were taking place during the period of the invasion, and the U.S administration didn’t then give a suggestion that the concerns regarding human rights were the main motivating factor to undertake the invasion.
The United States’ intelligence agencies’ role is to inform the political leaders in the nation regarding the dangers that the enemy nations poses to the United States. Due to the fact that the CIA leader among other such leaders worksfollowing the president’s desires, they forced to engage in accommodating what is perceived to be the president’s priorities. These officers then start exercising their influence over the occupations of those working below them. For the reason that the intelligence experts are cognizant of the fact that either promoting or challenging the executive leaders’ preferred policies can have an effect on their own administrative interests, these individuals may have start permitting explicit or implicit political forces to change the impartiality of the American policy on Iraq (Lieberfeld 2005, p.14).
The “vested interest” ideas indicate the way the business interests and political exploitation serve to inspire the politicians to take part in supporting or promoting wars. British intelligence’s leader did not have any doubt and held a belief that by June 2002, the administration of President Bush had vowed, behind closed doors, to invade Iraq and that the administration was basically concerned with making arrangements for a political justification involving the weapons of mass destruction and terrorism. Some analysts of the United States intelligence also saw that Bush had already the determination to carry out the Iraq invasion, and gave a response to such an assumption by ignoring with forewarnings in their evaluations of whether or not Iraq posed a danger of weapons of mass destruction. If assumptions such as these were found to be right, then the twisted approximations were an effect resulting from the decision made by the government, and not a cause. But on the other hand, bureaucratic contact like this can be well-thought-out asbeing a lenient cause of the war.
An unpolished account of the interest determinism would hold it that the business interest groups, who had a chance to profit from the Iraq war, were successful in compelling the Bush administration to go to with Iraq in order for them to obtain more profits. An account that is more nuanced might present a claim that the expected monetary and political gains resulting from war was the main motivating factor. The decision makers in the government persuaded themselves that going to war with Iraq was the right step towards realizationof national security, while financial as well as political self-interest indeed played an important, and possibly the most influential and motivating part (Lieberfeld 2005, p.17).
It has also been found that invasion of Iraq was basically found to be all about the way the CIA and the Federal Reserve and the manner way the Bush administration regard hydrocarbons found at geostrategic level, and the implicit but all-embracing macroeconomic threats to the U.S dollar from the euro. The actual reason for having Iraq invasion was the intention of President Bush’s administration to hinder more OPEC movementtowards the euro, away from the dollar, as turning out to be a currency which is a standard for carrying out the oil transactions. The Bush administration aimed at acquiring geostrategic influence over Iraq as well as over its large oil reserves. It can be basicallyconcluded that the United States invaded Iraq basically for oil security.
Bueno de Mesquita, B, 2002, “Domestic Politics and International Relations,” International Studies Quarterly, Vol. 46, No. 1, pp. 1-9.
Clark, W 2004, The Real Reasons for the Upcoming War With Iraq: A Macroeconomic and Geostrategic Analysis of the Unspoken Truth, Web.
Clarke, R 2004, Against All Enemies: Inside America’s War on Terror, Simon & Schuster New York.
Cramer, J K &Thrall, A. T, n.d,Why Did the United States Invade Iraq?A Survey of International Relations and Foreign Policy Scholars, Web.
Gordon, M, 2004, “Catastrophic Success: The Strategy to Secure Iraq Did Not Foresee a 2nd War.” New York Times, Web.
Haass, R, 2005, The Opportunity: America’s Moment to Alter History’s Course, Public Affairs, New York.
Lieberfeld, D, 2005, “Theories of conflict and the Iraq war”, International Journal of Peace Studies, Vol.10, No.2, pp.1-21.
Mayer, J, 2004, Letter from Washington: Contract Sport, Web.
Prados, J, 2004,Hoodwinked: The Documents that Reveal How Bush Sold Us a War, The New Press.
Rogers, P 2006, Oil security or Iraq war, Web.
Ron S, 2006, The one percent doctrine: deep inside America’s pursuit of its enemies since 9/11, Simon & Schuster, New York.
Russett, B, 1993,Grasping the Democratic Peace: Principles for a Post-Cold War World, Princeton University Press, Princeton.
Schweizer, P &Schweizer R 2004, The Bushes: Portrait of a Dynasty, Doubleday, NewYork.
United States Department of Defense, 2003, Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz Interview with Sam Tannenhaus (Vanity Fair), Web.
Woodward, B. 2004,Plan of Attack, Simon & Schuster, New York.
Appendix 1: OPEC Oil Production