Iraq: Exception to, or Epitome of Contemporary Post-conflict Reconstruction?

In the literature on post-conflict reconstruction, the intervention in Iraq has been understood as an exception to, if not an aberration from, contemporary state-building. This article argues that whether Iraq is an exception to, or the epitome of post-conflict reconstruction depends on the genealogy one attributes to the latter. Denying that Iraq is an exemplary instance of contemporary reconstruction means neglecting the continuities of state-building from interwar trusteeship via Germany and Vietnam to the contemporary reproduction of the neoliberal model continuities which the example of Iraq exposes more clearly than prior cases. An outline of the genealogy of state-building and an analysis of Iraqi reconstruction both point to the reproduction of a hegemonic international order as the rationale of statebuilding now and then.

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