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The Bush Doctrine, which was installed after the 9-11 attacks on the United States under the guise of the war on terrorism, postulated a vision of the United States as the world’s unchallenged superpower and the invasion of Iraq became one of the central fronts of this war. After failing to get approval by the United Nations for the invasion, the Bush Administration’s attempt to assemble a coalition of the willing became critical to the battle for public opinion to back the war. While the administration was able to garner some support, the coalition eventually unravelled and all troops are expected to depart by 2011 in what is perceived by many as a failure of U.S. foreign policy. This article discusses how different strands of social movement theory, including resource mobilization and the political process model, can be combined to examine how the coalition of the unwilling emerged and what effect it had on the failure of the United States to sustain support for the Iraq war. It contributes to the literature on social movements by assessing the ways in which structural- and micro-level mobilization efforts are often interconnected in order to explain both the how and the why of social movements, usually treated separately in much of the extant research.


This article was originally published in Peace and Conflict Studies, volume 18, issue 1, in 2011.

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Nova Southeastern University



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