chapter  7
15 Pages

Neoliberalism and the politics of war: The case of Iraq

The occupation of Iraq by the United States is a striking example of the relationship between war and politics, as it demonstrates that war has become a key mechanism for the expansion of neoliberal policies and financialisation. During the Clinton administration, many indirect military interventions have been legitimated by the strategy called ‘humanitarian intervention’. The Bush administration planned a new national security strategy which included a doctrine of ‘pre-emptive war’ against ‘terrorist and hostile states’. This strategy paved the way to the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq. It is obvious that, as a strategy ‘pre-emptive war’ shifted the US foreign policy towards a more aggressive stance. From a critical point of view, it is possible to claim that by this strategy the United States aims not only to access but also to control the energy resources; that is, the control of the direction of pipelines and production. At the same time, pre-emptive war is a strategic element of the general policy of expansion of corporate capitalism to regions and countries in which neoliberal policies yet to be implemented. In the case of the invasion of Iraq, the war became an instrument of toppling Saddam’s interventionist state and implementing neoliberal economic policies. The new economic agenda and new economic laws (especially the Iraqi oil law) paved the way for privatisation of Iraqi oil and opened the market for foreign oil companies. This chapter examines the relationship between the expansion of neoliberal globalisation policies and the strategy of pre-emptive war by focusing on the implementation of radical liberalisation policies and realisation of sweeping advantages of multinational corporations in Iraq after the invasion.