Architects of Delusion

Architects of Delusion: Europe, America, and the Iraq War

Simon Serfaty
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 184
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  • Book Info
    Architects of Delusion
    Book Description:

    The commencement of war in Iraq in 2003 was met with a variety of reactions around the globe. In Architects of Delusion, Simon Serfaty presents a historical analysis of how and why the decision to wage war was endorsed by some of America's main European allies, especially Britain, and opposed by others, especially France and Germany. Tony Blair, George W. Bush, Jacques Chirac, and Gerhard Schroeder were, Serfaty argues, the architects of one of the most serious crises in postwar transatlantic relations. These four heads of state were the victims not only of their personal delusions but also of those of the nations they led. They all played the hand that their countries had dealt them-the forceful hand of a righteous America, the principled acquiescence of a faithful Britain, the determined intransigence of a quarrelsome France, and the ambiguous "new way" of a recast Germany. Serfaty's deft interweaving of the political histories and cultures of the four countries and the personalities of their leaders transcends the Europe-bashing debate sparked by the Iraq invasion. He contends that not one of these four leaders was entirely right or entirely wrong in his approach to the others or to the issues, before and during the war. For the resulting wounds to heal, though, and for the continuity of transatlantic relations, he reminds us that the United States and France must end their estrangement, France and Britain must resolve their differences, Germany must carry its weight relative to both France and Britain, and the United States must exert the same visionary leadership for the twenty-first century that it showed during its rise to preeminence in the twentieth century.

    eISBN: 978-0-8122-0342-4
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[vi])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [vii]-[viii])
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    The alleged facts of “power and weakness” that characterized the transatlantic debate over the use of force in Iraq were theoretically flawed and historically misleading. Theoretically, the “facts” of American power appeared to reduce the concept of power to its military dimension at the expense of, or over, anything that might expose U.S. weakness. Historically, the “facts” of European weakness neglected the postwar transformation of Europe into a union that gives its members the nonmilitary power they lack individually. All together, the argument conveyed a sense of lasting American omnipotence for what was no more than passing preponderance, while providing...

  4. CHAPTER ONE Terms of Estrangement
    (pp. 13-45)

    Over the years, France has been America’s most difficult ally in Europe. When asserting its leadership in and beyond Europe, the United States repeatedly found France to be an obstacle—the first ally to raise objections, however marginal, and often the last to join the consensus. So it was after 1945 during the immediate postwar years over the related issues of Germany, the defeated state whose recovery France wanted to stifle or at least to control; the Soviet Union, the ascending state whose power France wanted to engage no less than contain; and the Third World, where France hoped to...

  5. CHAPTER TWO Terms of Endearment
    (pp. 46-80)

    Throughout the prewar debate over Iraq, the clash between George W. Bush and Jacques Chirac—between the United States and France—provided for the most significant crisis in transatlantic relations since the debates over Germany’s rearmament and the Suez crisis fifty years earlier. That was not all, however. Britain and Prime Minister Tony Blair were equally central to that debate—a country whose identity was fundamentally built away from Europe and a prime minister whose decisions were influenced by the close personal relationship he developed with the president of the United States.

    By comparison, no such levels of intimacy or...

  6. CHAPTER THREE Terms of Disparagement
    (pp. 81-111)

    After 1945, France and Britain were the only plausible contenders for leadership in postwar Europe west of Russia. However, for either nation to act accordingly required U.S. support—to tame Germany, to preserve the empires, and to contain Russia. Denied such support, neither Britain nor France could lead, for lack of capabilities and, most likely, a lack of will too. Unlike the situation in 1919, that relative weakness was widely understood in both European capitals where, arguably, a sense of limits prevailed in Paris even more than in London. “It was necessary to warn the Americans,” pointedly complained de Gaulle...

  7. CHAPTER FOUR Terms of Entanglement
    (pp. 112-140)

    The war in Iraq stands as a decisive moment in the unipolar world that followed the end of the Cold War—a world that the war certainly defined but also helped to end. Most directly, the war was made possible by the events of September 11, 2001, to which it was linked, even though Saddam Hussein was not directly involved with those events. More than six years later, however, the Bush administration was still in search of a long-term strategy for the war on terror and in need of allies willing to endorse that strategy, but it was also desperately...

  8. NOTES
    (pp. 141-164)
  9. INDEX
    (pp. 165-170)
    (pp. 171-172)