Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Clark, Michael

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Political Science


International relations


In the months leading up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration made clear to the American people that the United States was prepared to go to war if Iraq failed to comply with Resolution 1441 and disarm. However, during the process of drafting and passing Resolution 1441, the U.S. expended considerable time and energy maintaining to the United Nations Security Council that it would not use the resolution as a pretext to strike Iraq. Moreover, it appears that the Security Council was convinced of the U.S.' stated intentions when it passed Resolution 1441 unanimously in November 2002, after reassurances from the U.S. that Iraq's failure to comply would not result in the automatic use of force. This paper argues that the United States misdirected UNSC members as to its intentions in 2002, through strategic use of UNSC legitimacy. In making these claims, I explore how the legitimizing effect of the UNSC enabled the U.S. to use the international organization as a tool for misdirection. To advance this argument, I develop a working theory of misdirection. I argue that the U.S. can and does use the UNSC to pursue its national interests in ways that deviate from rationalist and institutionalist accounts of IO form and function.


Committee members: Glas, Aarie; Thurber, Ches.||Advisor: Clark, Michael.||Includes bibliographical references.


50 pages




Northern Illinois University

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