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The Regime Change Consensus
Iraq in American Politics, 1990-2003

$59.99 (C)

Part of Military, War, and Society in Modern American History

  • Date Published: July 2021
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108838245

$ 59.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Why did the United States invade Iraq, setting off a chain of events that profoundly changed the Middle East and the US global position? The Regime Change Consensus offers a compelling look at how the United States pivoted from a policy of containment to regime change in Iraq after September 11, 2001. Starting with the Persian Gulf War, the book traces how a coalition of political actors argued with increasing success that the totalitarian nature of Saddam Hussein's regime and the untrustworthy behavior of the international coalition behind sanctions meant that containment was a doomed policy. By the end of the 1990s, a consensus belief emerged that only regime change and democratization could fully address the Iraqi threat. Through careful examination, Joseph Stieb expands our understanding of the origins of the Iraq War while also explaining why so many politicians and policymakers rejected containment after 9/11 and embraced regime change.

    • The first book-length study of the policy of containment of Iraq
    • Focuses on a wide swathe of political and intellectual groups, as opposed to just neoconservatives
    • Links policies and political debates on Iraq to larger, post-Cold War historical contexts
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    Reviews & endorsements

    ‘Stieb’s insightful and deeply researched new book shows how the quest to salve the lingering sore of Iraq after 1991 led to the outright bloody mess of invasion, occupation, and desperation after 2003. That scar will not soon heal. No issue more haunts American policymakers today than the question of how, if ever, to deploy force to expand the roster of democratic states, and Stieb’s work is simply the best source we have for understanding how regime change came into vogue, before it fell into disrepute.’ Jeffrey A. Engel, Director of the Center for Presidential History, Southern Methodist University

    ‘What possessed policymaking elites to trigger the American march to war, and enact regime change in Iraq? The Regime Change Consensus provides a comprehensive answer to this essential question.’ Michael MacDonald, Williams College

    ‘Using archival research to deepen the portrait offered by previous accounts, Stieb traces the meandering history of US policy toward Iraq and explains why, after 9/11, the US debate over Iraq quickly coalesced around regime change. Anyone seeking to understand US policy toward Iraq in this period should add The Regime Change Consensus to their reading list.’ Michael J. Mazarr, author of Leap of Faith: Hubris, Negligence, and America's Greatest Foreign Policy Tragedy

    ‘Joseph Stieb persuasively shows that the 2003 Iraq War was not simply a misdirected response to 9/11. It occurred also because the prior US policy of containing Iraq, though largely successful, had lost credibility at home. This provocative analysis is essential reading for students and scholars of recent international history.' Salim Yaqub, author of Imperfect Strangers: Americans, Arabs, and US-Middle East Relations in the 1970s

    ‘Joseph Stieb’s sober book is a welcome addition to this growing literature.’ Ray Takeyh, Survival

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2021
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108838245
    • length: 288 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 160 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.56kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. A Hope, Not a Policy: Containment and Regime Change During the Gulf Crisis, 1990–1991
    2. The Fallout From Victory: Containment and its Critics, 1991–1992
    3. The Long Watch: The High Years of Containment 1994–1996
    4. Saddam Must Go: Entrenching the Regime Change Consensus, 1997–2000
    5. Not Whether, But How and When: The Iraq Debate from 9/11 to the Invasion
    Conclusion: Containment, Liberalism and the Regime

  • Author

    Joseph Stieb, Ohio State University
    Joseph Stieb is a post-doctoral researcher at The Ohio State University's Mershon Center for International Security Studies. His articles and essays can be found in The International History Review, The Washington Post, War on the Rocks, Arc Digital, and The Raleigh News-Observer.

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