Playing the imperial game: The mindset behind the attack on Iraq

Marc Pilisuk, Ph.D. and Jennifer Achord Rountree, M.A.

The mind-set in which the world and its inhabitants are all instruments in a game to gain competitive advantage is very much a part of the belief system that legitimizes global violence. Game theory provides a framework which describes how the end goal of U. S.–driven global games has been the expansion of markets. The United States’ preemptive military action in Iraq is but one example of a number of strategic interventions in the tradition of U. S. foreign policy that has followed, rather than lead, the corporate agenda.

The most aggressive military actions are particularly expressed in ideological terms such as the desire to make the world a better place, one with democratic elections and the benefits of free trade. Shifting strategic diplomatic relations with Iraq and Iraq’s one hundred-year history of petro-imperialism, both of which have been overlooked, underlie a strategic mind-set that promotes coercive actions to meet the end goal of expanded markets and corporate growth. Failure to understand the game contributes to our tendency to view the Iraq fiasco as a mistake rather than a product of a system that produces such tragedies.

Access to Full Text Article