Lecture Presents Ideological Perspective on US Iraq Invasion

The Ibrahim Abu-Lughod Institute of International Studies, in cooperation with Council for British Research in the Levant, and as part of the "Advancing Research and Teaching in Political Economy in the oPt" project funded by the LSE, held the third and last lecture of the lecture series given by Professor Toby Dodge, a professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science and Director of LSE’s Middle East Center.

Concluding a week-long lecture series with a lecture entitled “The Ideological Roots of Failure: The Application of Kinetic Neo-Liberalism to Iraq” the visiting professor Dodge spoke on November 5, 2016 about the ideological roots of the United States failure in Iraq, presenting a theoretical analysis of the foreign policy making in the Bush Administration towards the occupation of Iraq in 2003.

Through applying a neo-conservative and a neo-liberal approach, Dodge explained the major shifts between the US invasion in 2003, and the announcement of the surge in 2007.  Dodge examined four major shift of US policy towards Iraq encouraged by the rising tide of politically motivated violence.

“The recognition of the rising violence in Iraq has led to a major adjustment in the US policy”, Dodge alluded. “The profound problems the US faced throughout its attempt to impose a neo-liberal reform agenda on Iraq, highlight the major internal contradictions within the neo-liberal doctrine itself.”

Dodge explained that despite the fact that neoliberalism lays a deep mistrust of state power and the potential it has for threatening the autonomy of the individual, the Iraqi case proved that neoliberalism deeply dependent on state power to impose order on society and discipline errant individuals.

“Neo-liberal polices drove Iraq into civil war. It took three years and tens of thousands of Iraqi deaths for the Bush administration to realize that rebuilding the infrastructural and despotic capacity of the Iraqi state was the only way it could stabilize the situation and extricate US forces from what had become a deepening quagmire”, Dodge concluded.