After Iraq: War, Imperialism, and Democracy
Contains Bibliography, Index
Graeme S. Mount is a professor of history at Laurentian University. He
is the author of Canada’s Enemies: Spies and Spying in the Peaceable
Kingdom, Chile and the Nazis, and The Diplomacy of War: The Case of
In After Iraq, Harding, a retired professor from the University of
Regina, criticizes several recent U.S. actions: Ronald Reagan’s 1983
invasion of Grenada, George H.W. Bush’s 1989 invasion of Panama, and
George W. Bush’s 2003 invasion of Iraq. He notes double standards:
concern that Iraq not acquire nuclear weapons but indifference to
Israel’s possession of weapons of mass destruction; intervention to
protect the Caucasians of Kosovo but indifference to the horrors of
Rwanda. Whatever the pretext, the goal of the White House has been to
promote U.S. hegemony. British actions in the Middle East have also been
consistently less than admirable.
Harding reviews the history of Iraq, including Saddam Hussein’s links
with the CIA. Iran’s 1979 revolution rendered the Arab oil-producing
states more vital than ever to U.S. interests. Harding says that Atomic
Energy of Canada Limited considered selling a Candu nuclear reactor to
Saddam’s Iraq, and that the AECL’s experience in India shows that
such technology can facilitate the development of nuclear weapons.
Fortunately, Canada has shown more respect for international law than
has Bush II, who illegally invaded Iraq for bogus reasons. In order to
humour Tony Blair, Bush II’s government tried to seek legitimacy from
the United Nations, but when America was ready to strike, Bush did what
he had already decided to do, even without the UN mandate.
Harding warns that Bush II’s contempt for international law is
dangerous. Writing in 2003, Harding warned that to avoid the fate of
Iraq, North Korea would probably accelerate its nuclear weapons program.
North Korea is now doing just that. Bush II’s religious rhetoric may
intensify Islamic opposition to the U.S. and its values. He warns that
Mulroney’s policy of continental integration has made it increasingly
difficult for Canada to pursue its own foreign policy and that Bush
II’s re-election would make matters worse.
Harding does not have much new material in his book, but he argues in a
persuasive, highly readable way. This would be a great book for
professors to assign to undergraduates for seminar discussions.