The Invasion of Iraq, both in 1991 and 2003 reveal the United State’s resolve to increase its influence over global politics. However, the conditions behind the invasion of the nation were vastly different. In the first instance, the US had the moral support of several nations including members of the Arab world who viewed the actions of the president as being particularly threatening to the peace and stability of the region (Bean, 2008). The 1991 invasion of Kuwait was a large military invasion that was powered by resources from the US as well as other nations. On the other hand, the 2003 invasion was largely a US initiative and designed to serve the specific interests of the western nations and their capitalistic ideologies (Kettell, 2013). The common thread among these two invasions is that nations have interests and will, for that reason, occupy a position to strengthen their influence over global geo-political and economic operations.
The reality is that the US is primarily motivated by the desire to maintain its global dominance over international affairs. The 1990 Invasion of Iraq was cited as the largest military intervention since the Vietnam War. It was designed to stifle the threat of a nation that threatened to disrupt the global oil supply chains. The invasion of Kuwait was seen as a threat to the precious oil reserves found in Saudi Arabia (Kettell, 2013). At the moment, the US was heavily reliant on the oil reserves and had already identified Saudi Arabia as a crucial strategic partner in the Middle East. As such, it was important for the United States to guarantee a peaceful and stable Middle East political and economic environment that would then enable it to siphon the black gold and drive its economy forward (Bean, 2008).
However, the strategic interests of the US in 2003 were laid bare as there was no evidence of international law violations that would give the US a credible and deserved a reason to invade Iraq. As it has been documented over and over again, the Bush administration in faked evidence of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) as it falsely accused Iraq of violating major aspects of international law (Williams & Slusser, 2014). In addition to this, the US government utilized the conditions and terms of the 1991 invasion of Iraq as justification knowing full well that the UN Security Council would veto its decision to invade in 2003. In the second invasion, it was immediately clear that the US was primarily concerned with the vast oil reserves that were located in Iraq. Their ulterior motives were unmasked by the waning political support that came about as the US population became increasingly aware and convinced that the Bush administration had taken extreme measures to secure the nation’s economy (Kettell, 2013).
As such, both these invasions are a testament to the fact that nations do not have friends but interests. It is the prerogative of nations to secure the future of its people, and it is this aspect of realism that prompted the US to take aggressive measures through the use of its military power (Bean, 2008). Additionally, the media was utilized as a powerful tool designed to mask the true motives of such military actions. It has been said that the US violated its leadership position in global politics through its actions in 2003 (Williams & Slusser, 2014). However, the reality of the matter is that the nation acted to safeguard its strategic interests, however selfish and misguided they seemed to be.
Bean, I. (2008). Iraq (1st ed.). Vero Beach, Fla.: Rourke Pub. LLC.
Kettell, S. (2013). Dirty Politics? (1st ed.). London: Zed Books.
Williams, D. & Slusser, S. (2014). Americans and Iraq, twelve years apart: Comparing support for the US wars in Iraq. The Social Science Journal, 51(2), 231-239. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.soscij.2013.09.004