discuss Primary Causes of the Second Gulf War (or War in Iraq, 2003)

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Research Paper Topic: Primary Causes of the Second Gulf War (or War in Iraq, 2003)
a. The primary objective of the paper is to analyze the primary causes of the Second Gulf War
b. Remember: the paper is NOT about how the war was fought or what the major outcomes of the war were. Rather, the primary research puzzle is, why did (or what made) the US decide to go to war in Iraq?
c. To analyze the primary cause of the Second Gulf War, read the articles posted on Canvas
a. The readings are minimum, so you can cite any other outside sources if you think relevant
Overall Paper Structure: The paper has four major components (sections)
a. Introduction (1/2 page, or about one paragraph)
b. Empirical Analysis (about 4 pages)
c. Conclusion (1/2 page, or about one paragraph
d. References (use the APSA format)
Specific Contents to be Included
1. Introduction
a. Choose one theoretical framework (and NOT one level of analysis) you think best explains the primary cause of the war
b. Examples: theory of (mis)perception, psychological theory (frustration-aggression), theory of democratic peace, theory of nationalism, theory of imperialism, defensive realism, offensive realism, hegemonic war theory
2. Empirical Analysis
a. Empirically explain why the US decided to go to war in Iraq
b. The theory and empirical evidences must be logically connected
c. For example: if you choose hypotheses on misperception, then present coherent empirical evidences of US political leaders misperception that led to war
d. If you choose defensive realism, then explain how a security dilemma between the US and Iraq caused the war
e. In sum, the theoretical framework (intro) and empirical evidences must be logically connected
3. Conclusion
a. Critical evaluation: discuss if the theory and evidences are well connected, or if there is something left unexplained
4. References
a. Alphabetically list all the literature sources you cited in your paper
b. Use the American Political Science Association (APSA) style of referencing (I posted a short summary version of the APSA format
Evaluation Criteria
1. Clear conceptualization of theory
2. Logical connection between theory and empirical evidences
3. Analytical rigor (i.e., why/how happened, not just what happened): focus on causal connections, rather than listing mere historical facts
4. Referencing: use the APSA format correctly
5. Style of writing (minimize grammar errors)
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