20 years of Iraq war: How Ukraine conflict, Iran’s growing power and Trump’s rise trace back to 2003 invasion | World News

At the turn of the century, the United States emerged from the Cold War with unrivaled victory.

It has more power and influence than any other country in history. It could have used that power wisely to protect the US-led postwar world order and inspire other countries to follow its values ​​of freedom and democracy.

Instead, it squanders hegemony in Iraq This is ill-advised and disastrous to execute. This will be the beginning of the end of American Peace.

A straight line can be drawn between that crash that began on March 20, 2003, and the others that followed, all the way to the precarious state of the world today.

ukraine war, China’s unchecked risegrowing force Iranand even Trump’s rise The roots of populist politics can all be traced to the follies of the United States in Iraq.

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein stands next to an Iraqi flag, January 17, 2002. On the 11th anniversary of the Gulf War, President Saddam Hussein said on Thursday his country was ready and would thwart any new U.S. military strikes against terrorism in Iraq as part of the war. REUTERS/INA/POOL fk/CRB
Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein stands next to an Iraqi flag in 2002
U.S. President George W. Bush, right, shakes hands with British Prime Minister Tony Blair in the Oval Office of the White House on June 7, 2005. Both leaders, who have expressed skepticism at home about their handling of the Iraq war, met politically for the first time since Blair won election to a third term a month ago.REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq was backed by British Prime Minister Tony Blair

The lies and delusions that lead to war

The US waged wars under ideologues who thought they could reshape the Middle East on their own terms and bring a democratic and more pro-Western perspective to the region.

The failure of that neoconservative project has done lasting damage to Americans’ claims to exceptionalism and their belief that their form of governance is a model for the rest of the world. This, in turn, has done lasting damage to the US-dominated world order.

The failure of the program in Iraq is well documented. False premise that weapons of mass destruction do not exist, the illusion that invaders will be welcomed as liberators, without any acquired planning. The damage to America’s standing in the world is immeasurable.

Likewise, human rights abuses, violations of democratic norms, targeted killings, and the atrocities at Abu Ghraib — from which photos have emerged showing U.S. soldiers abusing prisoners — have tarnished America’s image as the standard-bearer of democracy and human rights.

This weakens Washington’s influence in the world. As India and others in the global south wait and see on the U.N. resolution on Ukraine, their ambivalence can be traced in part to the U.S. record in Iraq.

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U.S. troops escort a group of Iraqi soldiers in civilian clothes north of Basra, Iraq, in 2003
U.S. troops escort a group of Iraqi soldiers in civilian clothes north of Basra, Iraq, in 2003
FILE PHOTO: An Iraqi man holds a young boy and cries in front of a house damaged by a missile during an airstrike in Baghdad, Iraq, March 22, 2003.REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic/File Photo Search "20th Anniversary of the US Invasion of Iraq" for photos
An Iraqi man cries in front of a missile-damaged house in Baghdad in 2003

Lasting Impact on U.S. Foreign Policy

The failure sapped America’s own self-confidence.ghosts of iraq Making Barack Obama reluctant to get involved in the Syrian conflict And punish its leaders for their nefarious use of chemical weapons.

This reluctance is seen in Moscow as an American weakness and arguably encouraged it Confront the West and take Crimea with relative impunity a few years later. This in turn encourages Vladimir Putin got serious about invading Ukraine last year.

Iraq’s distraction leads to failure in afghanistantwo decades of occupation and disastrous retreat.

Year after year Iraq sucks up what policymakers in Washington say is bandwidth, and in the east, bigger challenges are rising. It will take years for the West to realize the threat China poses.

Closer to Iraq, Iran strengthened. Before the invasion, its regional influence was limited to Hezbollah’s militias in southern Lebanon. Today it wields influence in capitals from Beirut to Damascus to Baghdad to Yemen.

The Iraq war has damaged America’s confidence in itself. The conflict cost $1 trillion in damage and tens of thousands of American lives. It has fueled opposition to any more military adventures abroad.

It undermines the confidence of Americans in their government and the political and media elites who seek to hold it accountable. This can only partly help explain the rise of populism that eventually brought Trump to the White House.

FILE PHOTO: Explosions occur in Baghdad during an Iraqi airstrike March 21, 2003.REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic/File Photo Search "20th Anniversary of the US Invasion of Iraq" for photos
Explosions in Baghdad during an air strike on March 21, 2003
U.S. troops escort a group of Iraqi soldiers in civilian clothes north of Basra, Iraq, in 2003
U.S. troops escort a group of Iraqi soldiers in civilian clothes north of Basra, Iraq, in 2003

Iraq still recovering from tour of hell

In Iraq, people are no longer living under tyranny. There has been some reported sense of hope and revival, but only recently. This country has literally been to hell and back to hell.

Hundreds of thousands of people died in the war and the ensuing wave of sectarian violence. The country has collapsed, its institutions destroyed, its economy destroyed.

It’s only just starting to heal from all the trauma. But maybe it can now cautiously look forward to a slightly better future. That might say more if Saddam Hussein or his wayward, mercenary sons stayed in power.

Statue of Saddam Hussein pulled down by U.S. forces after 2003 Iraq invasion
Another view of the statue of Saddam Hussein being toppled
FILE PHOTO: Thousands of crosses are seen on a hillside in Lafayette, Calif., January 12, 2007, in memory of U.S. troops killed in the Iraq War.REUTERS/Kimberly White (US)/File Photo
Thousands of crosses at memorial to US troops killed in Iraq war in Lafayette, California

A decade ago, George W Bush delivered the final verdict on his actions Iraq will come long after his death.

That may be true, and it may take more time to judge whether the ouster of one of history’s worst tyrants justifies in any way the enormous cost and pain that followed.

Yet two decades on, we can say that the invasion and occupation left a lasting legacy on the region and the world, much of it for the better.

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