Beyond the Iraq War


Title:                      Beyond the Iraq War

Author:                  Michael Heazle

Heazle, Michael;(2006) and Iyantul Islam. Beyond the Iraq War: The Promises, Pitfalls, And Perils of External Interventionism. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar.

LOC:       2006005891

E183.8.I57 B49 2006

Date Posted:      March 29, 2013

This book takes a look at the circumstances under which invading Iraq, and any other country, would have been most effective versus how the US handled the invasion. It examines the cost-benefit relationship for the decision, and the fallout once the decision has been made.

Kevin Rudd[1], writing in the foreword to the book says, “The main lesson from the Iraq experience so far has been the enormous costs of military intervention. The effects of a doctrine of interventionism on both the target country and the international political environment in general are profound and far-reaching. As a test case, Iraq has demonstrated a clear need for both the costs and benefits and the circumstances under which intervention should occur to be much better defined and understood. Careful evaluation of the thinking and goals behind the Iraq intervention, the difficulties it faces, and its status as a “test case” for dealing with conventional and non-conventional threats alike is required. This volume on the promises and perils of interventionism, therefore, is both timely and significant.”

This book critically analyses the topic of US-led external interventions in the affairs of developing countries by using one of the most contested experiments of modern times, namely, the invasion of Iraq and its aftermath. The March 2003 invasion of Iraq has so far failed to deliver the benefits and outcomes its supporters anticipated, prompting international discussion as to whether the promises of externally-led nation-building (as an attempt to mould rogue states in a democratic, market-friendly fashion) are outweighed by the kinds of pitfalls and perils of intervention that have come to characterize the Iraq experience. This book identifies and addresses the major issues emerging from the current debate including the evolution of external interventionism as an idea, an explanation of what went wrong in post-Saddam Iraq and why the Iraq experiment is flawed by the Bush administration’s refusal to address long standing political and historical grievances among Muslims as part of the “War on Terror”. The contributors assess the troubled relationship between Islam and the West, the prospects for democracy in the Middle East, foreign policy debates in the US, and how economics and politics are juxtaposed in a highly contentious manner in any project of externally-driven nation-building.

Beyond the Iraq War brings together scholars and practitioners in an attempt to move beyond the polemical dimensions of the existing debate and provide a balanced analysis of what the Iraq enterprise can tell us about the brand of external interventionism espoused by the Bush administration and also the lessons it holds for any future interventions into the affairs of states. It combines a mix of disciplines, most notably international relations and economics as well as theory and empirical evidence. The book is written in a non-technical, but rigorous, manner in order to make complex and diverse issues accessible to the general reader.

This fascinating and scholarly work will appeal to academics and scholars in the fields of political economics, political science and international relations. Policymakers, journalists and media commentators will also find this work to be of great interest and value.


[1] Michael Rudd has been MP, Australian Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Security

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