Iraq model of poor foreign affairs, Cottrell says

Anne Walkup, Staff writer

The U.S. would do well to remember what we learned, or rather didn’t learn, from the lead up to the Iraq War.

Political science professor Patrick Cottrell provided his audience with a fresh perspective on President Donald J. Trump’s relations with North Korea by examining the U.S. decision to invade Iraq. He spoke to a crowd of students, faculty and community members that nearly filled Fred Meyer Lounge on Wednesday evening.

“I ask if it might make sense to revisit what happened the last time the U.S. went to war in the name of stopping a member of the axis of evil from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” Cottrell said.

However, Cottrell did not shy away from using humor to express his political opinions when he described President George W. Bush as “the squinty one” and Trump as “an embarrassment.”

But the lecture was not entirely comprised of humor. Cottrell devoted a considerable portion of his speech to discussing the importance of understanding how much of a mistake the wars were.

“Indeed, many have called the 2003 decision to invade Iraq the greatest strategic blunder in American history,” he said.

“The bottom line here is that the U.S. was dead wrong, but not for the reasons we typically think of,” Cottrell said about the decision to invade Iraq.

He expanded on this statement by saying that most debates regarding the war focus on the events that occurred during the war rather than those that led up to it.

Cottrell then transitioned to discussing his unease regarding Trump’s visit with Kim Jong Un, as there has been “very little diplomatic coalition.” He also expressed his concern about the events that could follow.

Cottrell quoted a tweet he had seen recently: “It’s not a good idea to let a deranged dictator meet with Kim Jong Un.”
He said his fear stems from the possibility that the visit “does not result in a deal in which both sides can claim wins.”

Cottrell told his audience members that he hoped they would leave his lecture with the knowledge that the U.S. was “dead wrong” in deciding to invade Iraq and that the possibility of repeating the mistake should be taken seriously.

“Failure to heed the right lessons could lead us down another, perhaps even worse, road,” Cottrell said.