Anglo-American Political Economy and Global Restructuring: The Case of Iraq

Sandra Halperin


The invasion of Iraq has been linked to the global ambitions of U.S. oil and defence industries and to U.S. government efforts to advance them. However, what is missing from, or minimized in, current discussions is the essentially Anglo- American political-economy that forms the basis for the creation and pursuit of these ambitions. This paper endeavours to bring this dimension of current world politics more clearly into focus. It is divided into two parts. The first part of the paper describes the central mechanisms of imperial expansion in the nineteenth century and how current trends of change might be seen as representing, in part, a return to aspects of this system (Section I). The remaining sections of the paper provide an elaboration of this theme. Section II describes the integration of U.S. and British capital as a result of U.S.-U.K. mergers in oil, defence, and finance; the disproportionate power and wealth of these interests in the U.S. and the British economies, and the U.S.-British political-military alliance that supports their quest for global reach. With this as a context, the paper then reviews the history of British and U.S. foreign policies towards Iraq and the culmination of these policies in the invasion and take-over of the country (Section III). The conclusions draw implications for the overall nature and direction of current trends of change.

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