Il secolo americano


di Guido Bassi


In this essay I will try to answer the question “Whdid G.W.Bush decideto intervene in Iraq in 2003? Before answering this question, I think it is more important to understand who G.W.Bush is and especially who are the Neoconservatievs (Neocons).

Just analysing the “Neocons” belief (how they see the U.S.A in the world), we will understand why the U.S did, and are doing, the second Iraq war, and why are they fighting a “ Global terrorism ” war. So in the first part of this essay I will try to describe who the Neocons are, how and why they started at the beginning of the 70’s to set up military and geo-strategic research centres.Then I will analyse the Neocons doctrine and its links with the foreign politics doctrines in the past like “The Manifest Destiny”. I will try to underline the clash between US administration and the United Nation especially on the Iraq war.

In the second part of the essay I’m going to write about why the Bush administration decided to intervene in Iraq, and why now. 


Right now the Neocons, hold some of the most important positions within the G.W.Bush administration.Within that “coalition” we can find P.Wolfowits, D.Cheney, D.Rumsfeld, all them hold important positions in G.W.Bush administration, but we can find a lot of University teachers as well like F.Fukuyama, E.A.Cohen, N.Podhoretz, and D.Keagan.The Neocons were born at the beginning of the 60’s. Three events during this period moved away some American Jews from the most liberal “ wing” of the Democrats.The first event was the Arab-Israel war of 1967, on account of Israel finding itself alone on the international theatre and within U.N. In fact on account of it the UN started to set up sanctiones against Israel.The second event, was the huge demonstrations against the Vietnam war. Some politicians believed that the withdrawal from Vietnam could be the start of a new isolationist foreign policy.The last event was the split of the alliance between American Jews and the “black power” movement[1].

These three elements shifted the Neocons to the right. At the beginning of the 70’s the Neocons set up the “Coalition for a Democratic Majority” (CDM), which made an agreement with the most conservative politicians of the Republican Party (D.Rumsfeld).At the and of the 70’s (1977), the CDM set up itself again in “Committee on the Present Danger” (CPD). The CPD was for a strong foreign policy and was against the reduction of nuclear weapons, its belief was “ Peace through Strength”[2].

At the same time the Neocons started to make an alliance with the most religious people of the Republican Party. This is the third element of the Neocons coalition ( Neocon, right Republicans and Evangelical Republicans).The CPD was one of the biggest supporters of R.Reagan’s presidential campaign. He was a member of CPD, and when he became president he appointed 33 CPD members in his administration.Almost of the Reagan administration members are now in the G.W.Bush administration, so it is clear why the ideology of G.W.B. is closer to the Reagan administration rather than that of G.Bush Sr.

The strong foreign policy, the spliting of the world into “good” and “evil”, and a messianic vision of US role in the world, were some of the main beliefs of Reagan’s administration, and they are in the G.W.B. administration as well.In the middle of the 90’s, the Neocons set up the “ Project for the New American Century”. It was set up according to D.Cheney’s defence ideas, these ideas were drawn in the last years of Bush Sr administration.

The main aim of PNAC is, to develop the leadership of the US in the world through a strong foreign policy, that should be on the opposite side of the foreign policy of the past administrations (Bush Sr and Clinton). The members of PNAC reject the realistic foreign policy of Bush Sr and the multilateralism of Clinton.For the PNAC members, we can see by reading the reports on the PNAC web site[3], after the end of the Cold War, just US is the global-power; the end of USSR is an opportunity that US could not pass up.U.S.A. must earn as much as it can from the “Unipolar Moment” [4].

The unipolar moment is the present geo-politic situation, US must shape the world according to its economical, geo-strategic and moral interests.To shape the world how they want, US has to avoid the rise of the other global powers like USSR. They have to be able to control all main geo-political areas of the world.

Therefore the main topics of PNAC concern both geo-politic and moral aspects, like the spread of democracy and (trade) freedom.The development of freedom, democracy, and free trade is, for the Bush administration, one of the main aims. Moreover these values are the best to preserve the political, social and economic stability that US is looking for.The “mission” of present America is linked with some of the most important and popular “American beliefs” like J. O’Sullivan’s “Manifest Destiny”  and “ City on The Hill” of Winthrop.Both move from the U.S. exceptionalism and his role in the world. The Americans have to spread their values now in the world (Iraq) like they spreaded them in the middle of 1800 within the US territory. Spreading their values they will “bring” democracy and freedom into the Middle-East, as well as they “did” with the Mexicans in the middle of 1800.Bringing the “Democracy” to Iraq is just the first step of Bush’s global campaign to make the world “more safe”.This moral aspect is the first of Bush’s Doctrine. The Doctrine is made of two main topics: the first one, how I wrote upon, is the development of US values; the second is it’s geo-politic aim.

US has to shape the world according to his interests; there are two elements the US has to make to reach his aim.

·They have to change his foreign policy to a strong and aggressive foreign policy

·They need a huge rearmament.

The Neocons blame past administrations for having a weak foreign policy. Bush Sr and Clinton are thought to have had a realistic foreign policy, driven by U.N’s needs and rules.The G.W.Bush administration wants to change this policy. One of the belief of Neocons (like Reagan) is no more Appeasement, in fact they are scared by a new Appeasement foreign policy. The US has to faith his enemies before they attack Us territory, US can not negotiate with the brutal dictatorship like Saddam’s or Taliban’s. For Neocons, Bush Sr and Clinton’s foreign policy applied the appeasement belief; it shown by the unsuccessful overthrow of Saddam during “Desert Storm”, and by the excessive multilateralism of Bill Clinton.After the end of Cold war, the U.S. has become the only super-power in the world, they have to exploit as best they can the unipolar moment “…America’s grand strategy should aim to preserveand extend this advantageous position as far into future as possible…”[5]Just with an international order according to US economical and strategic interests Us can spread its leadership over the world.The “Pax Americana”, that has given to the US peace, stability and power, will not freeze in time, U.S. has to preserve it, to reach its’ geopolitical aims US must have a strong and powerful army,  “…the 21st century world is decidedly unipolar…today the task is to preserve an international security environment conductive to American interests and ideals…”[6].

For Bush administration, United States has to place effort in to overthrowing hostile regimes forming them to its interests, this belief is one of the most important element to preserve the US supremacy on the world.

Such regimes like Iraq, Iran, Syria and Korea do not accept the international rules, so there is just one solution: U.S. has to overthrow these regimes with conventional army operation or follow the Reagan’s model of financing rebel groups.So it is clear that if America believes itself better than other nations, it will not need the support of U.N to lead a war somewhere in the world (Iraq).Since the beginning, the Neocons have been “against” the United Nations way of acting, and especially, they have been against the international rules that limited its action. They believe that the international rules system, set up by the U.N, is not useful to US safety and to ensureing the world’s stability and peace. We can see that position in the large discussion on the Iraq war in 2003.For the Neocons the world needs a “cop”, US has to be that cop, United Nations is just a big “meeting” centre where countries can speak about the problems of the world, but they cannot resolve them[7].

Within United Nations there are a couple of states like China, Syria, etc. that are the biggest brake to democratic development. That is why U.S. has to set up ad hoc coalitions to faith the “enemy” everywhere they are; the “ Coalition of the willing” is just an example of what the Neocons believe, like “ International coalitions”. Before 9/11 Pakistan was on the list of states that supported the terrorism, but with the Afghanistan war, it became one of the “biggest” allies of US. So, most of the G.W.Bush administration members believe that the end of Iraq will be the end of United Nations too; the world should not be led by the U.N system of rules, but by the US system of rules.The second important element of the Neocons belief is a strong and large rearmament.“…At no time in history has the international security order been as conductive to American interest and ideals…”[8]to keep this opportunity US needs a strong military force.

Neocons blame the past administrations to have reduced the strategic defence budget.

[1] J.Lobe, A.Olivieri, I nuovi rivoluzionari:il pensiero dei neoconservatori americani, Feltrinelli, Milano, 2003, pp. 9-11.

[2] J.Sanders, Peddlers of crisis: The committee on the Present Danger and the Politics of Containment, South End Press,     Boston ,1983.


[4] C.Krauthammer, The Unipolar Moment, “ Foreign Affairs”, America and the world 1990-1991 ( )

[5] D.Keagan, G.Schmitt, T.Donnelly, Rebuilding America’s Defenses: strategy, forces and resources for a new century, PNAC, 2000, Introduction.(

[6] D.Keagan, G.Schmitt, T.Donnelly, Rebuilding America’s Defences: strategy, forces and resources for a new century,PNAC,2000, Introduction, (

[7] J.Lobe, A.Olivieri, I nuovi rivoluzionari:il pensiero dei neoconservatori americani, Feltrinelli, Milano, 2003, p. 21-23

[8] D.Keagan, G.Schmitt, T.Donnelly, Rebuilding America’s Defences: strategy, forces and resources for a new century, cit , p. IV. (