What We Owe Iraq: War and the Ethics of Nation Building

What We Owe Iraq: War and the Ethics of Nation Building

by Noah Feldman
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691126127

ISBN-13: 9780691126128

Pub. Date: 03/13/2006

Publisher: Princeton University Press

What do we owe Iraq?

America is up to its neck in nation building—but the public debate, focused on getting the troops home, devotes little attention to why we are building a new Iraqi nation, what success would look like, or what principles should guide us. What We Owe Iraq sets out to shift the terms of the debate, acknowledging that we are nation

Overview

What do we owe Iraq?

America is up to its neck in nation building—but the public debate, focused on getting the troops home, devotes little attention to why we are building a new Iraqi nation, what success would look like, or what principles should guide us. What We Owe Iraq sets out to shift the terms of the debate, acknowledging that we are nation building to protect ourselves while demanding that we put the interests of the people being governed—whether in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, or elsewhere—ahead of our own when we exercise power over them.

Noah Feldman argues that to prevent nation building from turning into a paternalistic, colonialist charade, we urgently need a new, humbler approach. Nation builders should focus on providing security, without arrogantly claiming any special expertise in how successful nation-states should be made. Drawing on his personal experiences in Iraq as a constitutional adviser, Feldman offers enduring insights into the power dynamics between the American occupiers and the Iraqis, and tackles issues such as Iraqi elections, the prospect of successful democratization, and the way home.

Elections do not end the occupier's responsibility. Unless asked to leave, we must resist the temptation of a military pullout before a legitimately elected government can maintain order and govern effectively. But elections that create a legitimate democracy are also the only way a nation builder can put itself out of business and—eventually—send its troops home.

Feldman's new afterword brings the Iraq story up-to-date since the book's original publication in 2004, and asks whether the United States has acted ethically in pushing the political process in Iraq while failing to control the security situation; it also revisits the question of when, and how, to withdraw.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691126128
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
03/13/2006
Edition description:
With a New afterword by the author
Pages:
184
Product dimensions:
5.56(w) x 8.44(h) x 0.58(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
CHAPTER ONE: Nation Building: Objectives 7
CHAPTER TWO: Trusteeship, Paternalism, and Self-Interest 52
CHAPTER THREE: The Magic of Elections and the Way Home 92
Conclusion: 130
Acknowledgments 133
Notes 135
Index 149

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