U.S. Democratization Strategy: Origins and Obstacles
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA
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The George W. Bush administration offered two rationales for the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003. First and foremost, the invasion would eliminate the threat that the Iraqi regime headed by Saddam Hussein might transfer weapons of mass destruction WMD to terrorist organizations. Second, the invasion would depose the brutal dictatorship in Baghdad and deliver the oppressed people of Iraq from tyranny. After the invasion, in the absence of any Iraqi WMD stockpiles, only one of these original justifications for war remained viable. As a result, the Bush administration realigned U.S. national security strategy and set forth a vision of peace and security through the democratization of the Middle East and the world. This thesis examines the historical antecedents of this vision. It also analyzes the transition in the Bush administrations foreign policy from a position of pragmatic restraint and America-first principles to a Wilsonian vision of global pacification through the spread of democratic principles of governance. Finally, the thesis reviews the various obstacles that could prevent the fulfillment of this vision, which has met with significant resistance in Afghanistan as well as Iraq.
- Government and Political Science
- Humanities and History