GIR Colloquium Series | George W. Bush, Anger, and the Iraq War of 2003

9 August, 2018
1:00pm - 2:30pm


A vast majority of scholars now agree to say that the Iraq War of 2003 has been an important failure for the United States. Then, the question is: How political science could account for this failure? Or, to put it differently: How political actors, supposedly “rational,” could have taken such a misguided decision?

The aim of this presentation is to have a better understanding of such a decision. I will argue that the study of emotions – which might be one of the most promising cross-disciplinary themes in social sciences – is useful to supplement interpretations based on rationality and material interests. As the decision process has been documented by Bob Woodward, by the actors themselves in their memoirs and by various historians, it is now possible to make assumptions about the emotional dimension. Here, I will claim that “anger,” which is directly connected to the Greek notion of thumos, has played an important role during the run-up to the war.


About the speaker

Benjamin Brice is a Research Affiliate in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney. He has completed in 2015 a doctoral dissertation entitled “The End of War? The Ambiguities of ‘Democratic Peace’: interests, passions and ideas” at the Centre d’études Sociologiques et Politiques Raymond Aron from l’École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (CESPRA-EHESS). In English, he has recently published “A Very Proud Nation: Nationalism in American Foreign Policy” in The SAIS Review of International Affairs (2015) and “Equality or Superiority? Recognition in International Relations” in Raisons Politiques (2017).

Location: Merewether Room 498, Butlin Avenue, the University of Sydney