Fifteen Eighty Four

Academic perspectives from Cambridge University Press


After Bush: Iraq, Foreign Policy, and the Candidates

The New York Times’ recent article on McCain’s visit to Iraq highlights a sticking-point for the presidential candidates’ campaigns – the war factor. But will anything really change?

Our own Sadhika Salariya has been working with a couple of authors who have their own ideas about what the next president will bring.

“As commander-in-chief, I will always reserve the right to make sure that we are looking out for American interests. And if Al Qaeda is forming a base in Iraq, then we will have to act in a way that secures the American homeland and our interests abroad”.

-Senator Obama to Tim Russert of NBC News, February 2008

Ok! So the buzz is on, America’s excited, Obama and Hillary are head to head, and with McCain, all promise to reinvigorate the economy at home. Race, Immigration, Tax cuts, Health Care have all been central to the Presidential elections campaigning. However, amongst this entire bustle, it is very important to take a moment and reflect back. Are we moving away from something? Are there any loose ends emerging?

We all know George W. Bush’s exit is awaited; there is no question about it. We all have witnessed the enthusiasm on all sides. But remember: today is the Fifth Anniversary of the Invasion in Iraq. The war has been one of the key decisions in American political history that has won few admirers, with pundits and politicians eagerly bashing the tenets of the Bush Doctrine. This war exacerbated our Bush’s unpopularity towards the end of his second presidential term.

How much do you remember about how this war has unfolded?

It often comes to mind: why has foreign policy and Iraq diminished to become a yes-or-no issue?

Obama and Hillary have talked about “change” and “unity” vaguely every now and then, and America has been listening – patiently thus far. However, slowly it also seems that the democratic attitudes and positions on war are changing. Are they really the “change agents” they claim to be? Should Americans brace themselves for a different kind of reality? The troops’ homecoming, a hope for a return to an America that addresses the world in softer tones and disavows precipitate military action; do these expectations still seem realistic? Most importantly, is America going to experience “change”, the most popular slogan factored into every political campaign and speech?

Timothy J. Lynch and Robert S. Singh think these expectations might disappoint many. They delve into the past and present on foreign policy and dare to counter the dogma of Bush’s beltway detractors and his ideological enemies, boldly arguing that Bush’s policy deservedly belongs with the mainstream of the American foreign policy traditions. Lynch and Singh present a daring audit on the war on terror, which they contend should be understood as a Second Cold War- and charge that the Bush doctrine has been consistent with past foreign policies- from Republican and Democratic Presidencies. They predict the key elements of George Bush’s grand strategy will rightly continue to shape America’s approach in the future.
After Bush: The Case for Continuity in American Foreign Policy is a provocative account that weighs in on controversial and crucial topics about Islamist Terrorism, American National Security, Iraq and the Middle East.

Check back for more from the authors election analysis!

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