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U.S. Power and Post-Conflict Reconstruction: The Cases of Japan and Iraq

Bridoux, J. F. (2008) U.S. Power and Post-Conflict Reconstruction: The Cases of Japan and Iraq. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86392) (KAR id:86392)

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Shortly before the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, American officials made references to the reconstruction of Japan and Germany after World War II as constituting examples of successful democratisation, replicable once Saddam Hussein would be toppled. Such a statement generates questions regarding the relevancy and intelligence of planning the reconstruction of Iraq on the basis of what was done in Japan and Germany given the obvious differences of context and conditions pertaining to these reconstruction projects. Our purpose consists in operating a comprehensive analysis of past reconstruction cases and of the current reconstruction project in Iraq in order to understand why American officials believed that extensive social reengineering aiming at seeding democracy and economic development is replicable. In other words, the research question animating our work aims at identifying factors explaining the outcome of U.S.-led post-conflict reconstruction projects. Hence, this study compares the reconstruction of Japan from 1945 until 1952 with the current reconstruction of Iraq, aiming to develop a comprehensive analytical framework relying on power differentiating between coercion and consent. The analysis reveals that additionally to the effective use of material resources of power. the outcome of reconstruction projects depends on a specific comprehension of what power does on behalf of American foreign policy-makers; an understanding of prereconstruction conditions, consistency in the formulation and implementation of policies across reconstruction fields identified as the state, the security dimension, the economy and the civil society; and finally, consistency between reconstruction policies and U.S. regional and global foreign policies. As an outcome of an analytical approach relying on the concept of power, our tindings regarding the outcome of the occupation and reconstruction of Iraq provide us with an opportunity to appraise the effectiveness of American power in the contemporary international structure. put at risk in its coercive and consensual expressions.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Joseph, Jonathan
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86392
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Subjects: J Political Science
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:56 UTC
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2022 16:55 UTC
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