Will the chickenhawks come home to roost? Iraq, US preponderance and its implications for Australia

Jim George*

*Corresponding author for this work

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    7 Citations (Scopus)


    Critical questions must be asked of the Howard government's assumptions about the regional and global future. Specifically, the assumption that our long term national interests are indeed consistent with the global strategic interests of the United States, not just in Iraq but also in relation to a broader ambition concerning global preponderance which, I suggest, has been evident in US foreign policy thinking in one form or another since World War Two, and which has been energetically rekindled by the current US administration. In this regard strategic experts such as Paul Dibb and Hugh White are entirely justified in warning the Howard government of the dangers of signing up to this larger US ambition, and the Financial Review, similarly prescient, in its representation of the Iraq conflict as 'the first of many wars' on a future US agenda committed to regime change in the Middle East and beyond. My own concerns regarding Australia's future relate to this agenda and to the militaristic mind-set associated with it which, it seems to me, is likely to provoke the very instability and disorder it ostensibly seeks to quell, thus increasing regional and global insecurity. And this is a distinct possibility if, as John Lewis Gaddis has proposed, the Iraq war is indeed the first step in democratically 'transforming the entire Muslim Middle East' (Gaddis 2002). Such an outcome has a certain appeal, of course, but if one ponders for a moment the means by which this transformation is to be initially achieved-via either the long-term US occupation of Iraq or the imposition of US backed puppet regimes in Iraq and throughout the 'Muslim Middle East' -its appeal very quickly begins to fade. It fades even more rapidly if one ponders the even larger context in which regime change in the Middle East is but a part-that which sees the US planning a strategy of global regime change as the 21st century unfolds.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)235-242
    Number of pages8
    JournalAustralian Journal of International Affairs
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2003


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