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With the emergence of modern nation states, modern international relations emerged as these nation-states device and followed certain principles, courses and standards that govern their interactions in the international community. Basically, no nation is an island, so it becomes imperative for nation states to interact with each other. These actions therefore formed the foreign relations of such states. Traditionally, these actions are guided by national foreign policies that are clearly in pursuit of national aspirations or interests. What then is/are foreign policies?

Foreign policy is defined as the study of actions of a state toward the external environment and conditions-usually domestic-under which these actions are formulated (Dawisha, 1976). The domestic condition referred to in this definition may include such things as the form of government of such state and the public opinion and other activities or establishment within such state. However, this does not mean that actions of states are not influenced by external conditions too. Foreign policy can also be said to mean a set of carefully articulated goals and objectives interpreted in the decisions made and actions taken by a state in the pursuant of those articulated goals and objectives when interacting with other states in the international system (Ugwukah and Eteete, 2010).

Foreign policies do not just come about. There are certain factors that influence or determine their formulation. It is impossible to lay down any general rule regarding the relative importance of each of these factors or a scale of importance which decision-makers must permanently adhere to in making their policy decisions. Nevertheless, certain basic


determinants can be identified which most of the states in the international system take in to account while making their policy. F.S Northedge clearly states that the foreign policy of a country is a product of environmental factors both internal and external to it (Ugwukah and Eteete, 2010). Thus, foreign policy formulation is influenced by internal and external factors. The internal factors comprise factors within a particular state. In the words of Henry Kissinger, ‗foreign policy begins where domestic policy ends‘. The internal factors that influence foreign policy formulation include: economic development/structure, social structure, nature and character of political leadership, military capabilities, public opinion, history and culture, geographic location of the state and demographic factor and so on. The external factors (which comprise factors found in the global system) include international organisations and regimes, world public opinion, policies and actions of other states, the nature of the world economy and international law/norms (Ghosh, 2013).

The best formulated foreign policy in the world is rendered irrelevant without a clear sense of tools available to decision makers and their respective utility. By tools we mean instrument needed to implement foreign policy objectives and goals. Traditionally, states have had to recourse to diplomacy, economic, subversion and military instruments to achieve their respective aims and objectives. More recently, these instruments, which can be termed ‗hard power‘ (the use of military and economic or coercion and payment to influence the behaviour or interests of other states) have been supplemented by the recognition of the importance of incorporating ‗soft power‘ (quasi-legal instruments which do not have any legally binding force, or whose binding force is somewhat weaker than that of hard power) into a states range of skills available to them in implementing or executing their foreign policy. The promotion of values through governmental and non-governmental actors is one of the ‗soft power‘ tools which can help states shape a target country‘s foreign policy aims. Each of these has strengths and weaknesses in relation to a given foreign policy problem, and it is a


states‘ability to capitalise on these diverse sets of instruments that determine whether it has a successful foreign policy or not (Alden, 2011).

Since the founding of Iraq in the aftermath of World War I, United States policy (towards Iraq) has included cooperation, confrontation, and war. However, the purpose of this research work is to focus on U.S foreign policy in Iraq from the year 1991 to 2003. The U.S 2003 military invasion of Iraq and the extended occupation that followed were certainly the most dramatic and significant events in the long history of U.S relations with Iraq. This period spanned through the administration of former president George W. Bush. Although the invasion of Iraq is widely regarded as the continuation of the first gulf war, specific and different factors however influence U.S foreign policy from 1991 -2003 (Hahn, 2012).

The United States have enduring interests in preserving regional stability in the Middle East, countering transnational terrorism, and advancing responsible governance. These objectives are advanced by a stable Iraq that can serve as a constructive power. An Iraq without the capacity to govern effectively and mechanisms to resolve conflicts peacefully would be a destabilising presence that would harm U.S interests in the Middle East. United States foreign policy since 2003 have overtime emerged from the need to prevent the re-emergence of Al Qaeda or its affiliates and keep the country from serving as a safe haven that could be used to attack Americans and U.S allies (Nagl and Burton, 2009).


The United States have series of interests it wants to achieve in Iraq. These interests have instigated the formulation (and execution) of different foreign policies towards the country (Iraq). These policies have guided U.S relations with Iraq over the years. These relations have been sources of huge concern for both the United States and Iraq as well as among various countries of the world. Over the years, different administrations have formulated different


policies and committed considerable amount of resources in their execution, yet it seems the U.S.A is not achieving its stated objectives in the country. For instance, the policy of invasion adopted under the Bush administration which sought to capture ‗Iraq‘s Weapons of Mass Destruction‘ and to free the people of Iraq from the dictatorial rule of Sadam Hussein, to ensure stability in the country (and the region at large) and to curb transnational terrorism did not prove effective from the view of the aftermath of events that occurred. Shortly after the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the country combusted, leading to the proliferation of Islamist fundamentalist groups, ethnic and religious militias and insurgents; and thus leading to increase in the activities of terrorist groups. Thus, the study intends to examine the underlying factors responsible for the ineffectiveness of United States foreign policies in Iraq between 1991 - 2003 and also to look at ways in which future relations between the two countries can be improved.


This study seeks to:

(i). assess the major factor(s) responsible for the US war on terrorism and the subsequent invasion of Iraq in 2003.

(ii). evaluate the effectiveness of the foreign policy decisions of the Bush administration towards Iraq;

(iii). examine the prospects for better relations between the U.S and Iraq.


The research questions include:


1.      What are the major factor(s) responsible for the US war on terrorism and the subsequent invasion of Iraq in 2003?

2.      How effective were/are the foreign policy decisions of the Bush administration towards Iraq?

3.      What are the prospects for better relations between U.S and Iraq?


The purpose of this research work is to take a look at the effectiveness of the foreign policy decisions of the United States towards Iraq from 1991 to 2003. In doing so, the major foreign policy decisions towards Iraq under the administration of George Bush, this will give us a better understanding on the reasons behind the effectiveness (or as the case maybe, ineffectiveness) of the policies under the administration. Also, analysis of the policies would in the future assist U.S decision makers to formulate more comprehensive and better policies towards Iraq. Another major significance of this study is that the prospect of better relations that would be examined in the course of this study would serve as a cornerstone for international relations students and analysts in analysing and making near-accurate postulations in the future relations between the two countries.


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