chapter  6
24 Pages

Gender and U.S. Foreign Policy: Hegemonic Masculinity, the War in Iraq, and the UN-Doing of World Order

The U.S.-led war against Iraq has rocked the foundations of the international political system. The Bush administration took upon itself the task of enforcing UN Security Council Resolution 1441, which the Security Council passed in October 2002, requiring full cooperation of the Iraqi government with weapons inspections. However, the resolution did not include clear guidelines for triggering enforcement. When it became clear to the Bush administration in January and February 2003 that there would be no Security Council consensus on a new resolution to mandate enforcement of 1441, the Bush team worked around the United Nations. For critics of the U.S. administration, the action was the first clear-cut example of the implementation of the Bush national strategic doctrine that the White House announced in September 2002. This doctrine calls for preemptive action against potential threats to U.S. national security in the present, and to U.S. domination in world politics in perpetuity. Hence, the Iraq War pitted two conflicting visions of U.S. foreign policy against each other. On the one hand were claims that the United States was saving the UN Security Council from its own inadequacies and political ineptitude. On the other hand were visions of the role of the United States as the sole remaining superpower.