Policy and government expert Ahsan I. Butt believes the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the United States was a “performative war” conducted to demonstrate U.S. military might and establish the country as a feared global authority.
Butt, Ph.D., of George Mason University, Virginia, will discuss his theory when he presents “Why did the United States Invade Iraq in 2003?” on March 19 at Ohio Wesleyan University.
A 2006 OWU alumnus, Butt will speak at 7 p.m. in Benes Room B of Hamilton-Williams Campus Center, 40 Rowland Ave., Delaware. His presentation is free and open to the public.
“Most scholars cite the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, a neoconservative desire to spread democracy, or placating domestic interest groups as the Bush administration’s objectives,” Butt states in a forthcoming article, “but I suggest these arguments are flawed. Instead, I proffer the ‘performative war’ thesis, resting on the concepts of status, reputation, and hierarchy to explain the Iraq war.”
At Ohio Wesleyan, Butt majored in international studies and minored in mathematics, and graduated summa cum laude. In addition to his OWU Bachelor of Arts degree, he holds both doctoral and master’s degrees in political science from the University of Chicago.
Today, he is an associate professor of policy and government at George Mason’s Schar School of Policy and Government as well as a nonresident fellow at the Stimson Center in Washington, D.C.
Butt’s current research focuses on political violence, nationalism, and South Asia. His first book is “Secession and Security: Explaining State Strategy Against Separatists,” which earned the International Studies Association’s International Security Studies Section (ISSS) Best Book Award in 2019.
His work has been featured or is expected in peer-reviewed journals such as International Organization, Journal of Global Security Studies, Journal of Strategic Studies, Politics and Religion, and Security Studies. He has received support from the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School, the Mellon Foundation, the Stanton Foundation, and the United States Institute of Peace.
Butt’s presentation is sponsored by Ohio Wesleyan’s International Studies Program. Learn more about the OWU program at www.owu.edu/internationalstudies.
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