In his 2003 public statement, President Bush gave three reasons for going to war with Iraq and force out Saddam Hussein. His first reason being was to eliminate Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, Secondly to diminish the threat of international terrorism; and last to promote democracy in Iraq and the surrounding areas. To analyze the best reason as to why the US went to war with Iraq we must discuss the levels of analysis; system –level, state-level and individual level.
The definition of system level is “System-level analysis focuses on the external restraints on foreign policy” (Rourke and Boyer 69). The United States is unipolar but even though they have power when it comes to going to war they have other countries to back them up if they go to war. Iraq does not have anyone to help them for war with the U.S.
The system-level analysis would be of greater importance in analyzing trade and the world economic system, as it takes into account all nations and their effects on the world economy, but concerning America’s Foreign Policy, as America has no interest in the International Community’s approval, this level of analyzing is not the one to use. The next analysis Individual-level analysis “begins with the view that at the root it is people who make policy” (Rourke and Boyer 69). This approach begins by identifying the characteristics of the complex process of human decision making which includes gathering information, analyzing that information, establishing goals, pondering options, and making policy choices.
The human role in the world drama can be addressed from three different perspectives: human nature, organizational behavior, and behavior. Human nature involves the way in which human characteristics affect decisions. Organizational behavior looks at how humans interact within organized settings, such as a decision-making group. Idiosyncratic behavior explores how the peculiarities of individual decision makers affect foreign policy. Although it might be viewed as unimportant, to understand and analyze a person, we must have full access to his life. Such barriers make it hard to examine a “leader’s physical and mental health” which “can be important factors in decision making” (Rourke 55).
On top of all the barriers, the individual-level of analysis can still be successful in analyzing certain traits of the President and if they influenced his decision to go to war with Iraq. As Hallenberg and Karlsson explained Bush’s character “his tendency to see matters in black and white, often linked tohis religiously-based beliefs in which there are few nuances, only a right way and a wrong way, are prominent here”. (Hallenberg Karlsson 232-233) The state – analysis is the best analysis to describe the United States. State level is he improving of our understanding of policy. It emphasizes the characteristics of states and how they make foreign policy choices and carry out them (Rourke and Boyer 65).
“Countries are restrained by the realities of power in the international system, much like individuals are limited by the distribution of power in more local systems” (Rourke and Boyer 71) It is of extreme importance to analyze the influence of lobbies on foreign policy such as AIPAC, as Virginia Democrat Jim Moran said in response to a question concerning the influence of AIPAC on a possible war with Iran “No one suggested that Iran is a potential threat to the United States, any more than Iraq could ever have been a threat to the US.
It’s a threat to our ally, and those in the Likud Party, and AIPAC, who agree pretty consistently with Likud, feel that the best way to eliminate a threat is to destroy it, and they want America to use its military might to eliminate the threat” (Lerner). Such statements by active politicians prove that our foreign policy is influenced by groups outside the government, giving the state-level analysis a solid reason to be used when dissecting the 2003 decision to go to war with Iraq.
The difference between realism and liberalism is realism is “The view that politics is driven by competitive self-interest, and, therefore, that the central dynamic of an international system is a struggle for power among countries each tries to preserve or, preferably, improve its military security and economic welfare in competition with other states” (Rourke and Boyer G-10).
Liberalism is “The view that people and the countries that represent them are capable of finding mutual interests and cooperating to achieve them, by forming ties between countries and also by working together for the common good through international law” (Rourke and Boyer G-7). Realists’ core concept is power for control and the liberals’ core concept is cooperation. Realists’ main cause of conflict is states pursing conflicting self-interest and Liberalism on the other hand lack of central processes to regulate competition (Rourke and Boyer 16).
The similarities of both realism and liberalism are the views on the international system which is both are anarchical (Rourke and Boyer 16). These two theoretical perspectives helped two scholars understand the international system. A realist scholar named Stephen Krasner is an international relations professor at Stanford University and is the former Director of Policy Planning at the United States Department of State. Krasner is conventionally regarded as a Realist student of international political economy.
In Structural Conflict, Krasner identifies himself with “the realist approach” ( Krasner 26), arguing that “the particular strategies adopted by a given state will be constrained by structural considerations – the distribution of power in the international system as a whole, and the place of a given state in that distribution” (SC 28). As a liberal Michael Doyle points out that liberal democracy are each other’s natural allies. According to Doyle, while liberal democracies can identify each other as allies, they must let enemies identify themselves.
First of all, the liberal community does not have the strength to embark on “crusades.” Secondly, “crusades” are inconsistent with liberal values. They would necessitate increased military spending, international subversion, and would probably have a negative effect on human rights. Liberal strategy should therefore tend toward the defensive. The primary goal should be to preserve; the secondary goal, to expand the liberal community.
Therefore between liberalism and realism, I believe Liberalism does a better job of explaining the nature of international politics because the US as a country does not drive on power because they know they have the upper hand but want to have peace without war with other neighboring countries. Though the US has advantages they still cooperate to achieve mutual interest. Liberalism adds morality and emotions when considering emotion as a factor.
Work CitedGriffiths, Martin. Fifty Key Thinkers in International Relations. London: Routledge, 1999. 32. Print. Rourke, John, and Mark Boyer. International Politics on the World Stage. 8th. New York: McGraw – Hill Higher Education, 2010. 16, 19. Print. Krasner, Stephen D. 1985. Structural Conflict. 1985. Berkeley: University of California Press. Michael W. Doyle, “A Liberal View: Preserving and Expanding the Liberal Pacific Union,” T. V. Paul and John A. Hall, ed. International Order and the Future of World Politics, Cambridge
University Press, Cambridge, UK, 1999, pp. 41-66 Spring, Baker. “Operation Iraqi Freedom: Military Objectives Met.” The Heritage Foundation 18 Apr. 2003Lerner, Michael. “The Israel Lobby, Bad for the U.S., Bad for Israel, Bad for Jews” Tikkun Sep-Oct. 20 Hallenberg, Jan and Hakan Karlsson. The Iraq War: European Perspectives on Politics,07