The Miscalculated War Essay

542 Words3 Pages
This paper will focus on which theoretical perspective John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt adopt in their article: “An Unnecessary War” (2003). In that article, the authors described the issue of the possible war between the Americans and Iraq. After a close reading of the article it is obvious that John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt adopt the realism theory in their article, because the only interest in the article is defined in terms of power. Besides that they approach the Iraq issue with a cost-benefit analysis, they prove that personal and national interest guides Saddam’s behaviour and they state that Iraq can be contained through a balance of power. In this article the only aspect of the Iraq issue the authors cover is the power play of the United States and Saddam. Other aspects such as moral or economics are barely covered in this article. The power play matches the realists view on statecraft, because according to realists, interest is defined in terms of power (Morgenthau, 2006: 59). Besides that, the authors approach the Iraq issue with a cost-benefit analysis of the possible consequences, which matches the fact that realism considers prudence to be the supreme virtue of politics (Morgenthau, 2006: 61). Mearsheimer and Walt state that a strategic rationale would be absent to start the war and that even if the war goes well, it will have been unnecessary. At the same time, the authors state that there also is a chance that the war goes badly, and then Bush administration would even have more to answer for (2003: 59). So either way, the benefits will never be high enough to justify the costs of waging a war against Iraq. Also, the authors counter the assumption that Saddam is reckless and unintentionally suicidal by proving that personal and national interest guides his behaviour. The authors do this by justifying some of Saddam’s actions
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