Throughout the War in Iraq, president Bush has been leaning towards the dubious "domino theory" for his political agenda. When first endorsed in 2003 before the overthrow of the Hussein government, Bush claimed of the domino theory, "A new regime in Iraq would serve as a dramatic and inspiring example of freedom for other nations in the region." Many government officials did and still do agree with this notion. These claims were made despite the fact that the "primary goal" of the US in Iraq was for dictator Saddam Hussein "not to develop weapons of mass destruction." (Bush)
In a fanciful presidential inauguration speech, a global "freedom on the march" campaign for persisting (both in ideology and in oratory repetition) freedom and liberty was emphasized by Bush. Recently, the promotion of the claim is conveniently paired with the successful Iraqi elections, instituted by the United States. Coinciding with the terms of freedom and liberty, the White House has deemed the tried Iraq as the model for a new Middle East where the intended liberation is to occur. But one needs to inquire: can the domino theory method be applicable to Iraq and the Middle East?
The "domino theory" was first introduced by American President Dwight D. Eisenhower as a means of defending democracy in South Vietnam after the French utterly lost colonial rule of the northern portion of the country—North Vietnam—to the Viet-Minh communist organization, headed by the prominent Ho Chi Minh. Eisenhower, as well as then Vice President Richard Nixon, argued that if South Vietnam were to fall to the communists, the remainder of the Indochina countries, consisting of Laos, Thailand, Burma (Myanmar), Malaysia, and Cambodia, would subsequently fall to communism. This was the domino theory, where one country being knocked down meant all surrounding countries falling as well by means of an indirect influence.
This notion was supported by the later presidents of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard Nixon who reigned during the US involvement in Vietnam. The domino theory notion would never materialize in Indochina. Instead, Vietnam would only attempt to spread communist ideals, and not indirectly influence separate revolutions.
In Cambodian, the socialist takeover was headed by the guerrilla Khmer Rouge army—from which would emerge the oppressive ruler Pol Pot—who possessed extensive ties to Northern Vietnam throughout the Vietnam War. These Cambodian connections included assisting the warring country by establishing supply lines and military aid, as Vietnam would likewise do the same for Cambodia. Such ties negated any domino theory legitimacy. In 1979 the Vietnamese Army successfully ousted the Cambodian socialist government and established a Vietnamese puppet authority.
In Laos, the communist Lao People's Revolutionary Party (LPRP) also had strong connections to communist Vietnam, which ensured another illegitimate domino theory case. Later, the LPRP would persistently disassociate itself from Vietnam by instituting more liberal policies. Concerning the countries of Burma and Malaysia, the citizens of these nations were subject to non-Vietnamese communist influence, but certainly such influence never materialized. Thailand, another candidate for the domino effect, was a close ally to the US during the Vietnam War, and suffered no nuisances of a domino effect.
Thus, in all of Indochina, where the domino theory was created, the domino theory also utterly lacked substance and never independently initiated, and failed.
The misconceived conjecture of the domino theory is not only relevant to the circumstances of Vietnam, but also to those of Latin America, where the origin of the international uprising was to be Cuba. Following Fidel Castro's overthrow of Cuba's dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959, no inevitable "Communistic revolution" (Marx) ensued. Nevertheless, both Chile and Nicaragua constituted as possible nations to prove the domino theory. In 1970 a socialist Chilean state was established via democratic elections, but quickly experienced an overthrow, aided to a certain extent by the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency). In 1978, the communist Sandinistas of Nicaragua would successfully perform a revolution, only to have their rule gradually deteriorate due to the CIA-backed Contra rebel insurgency. By 1990, the Sandinista government lost power in a democratic election.
Events before the decisive Cuban revolution didn't compel any dominoes to successfully fall either. In 1932 a communist-incorporated peasant revolt against the El Salvadorian government was violently suppressed. The most significant socialist state before Cuba in Latin America was that of Guatemala, where President Jacabo Arbenz (1951-1954)—a leader who had great support by communists—instituted many agrarian reform policies that eventually led to CIA opposition and his resignation.
There of course existed communist parties in other nations that continually challenged existing regimes, but these movements weren't sufficient to create an independent nation.
Though the events in Latin America as they related to Cuba portrayed a closer conception to the domino theory, the overall failures of the communist endeavors as well as the short life spans of the communist nations proved that, once again, the domino theory failed.
The fallacy of the domino theory is now being applied in the Middle East by America in the complete converse, i.e. establishing Iraq as democracy will inevitably make the neighboring countries fall to this introduced system.
The notion alone that Iraq would be a pure domino theory is tainted by the allied (coalition) involvement in the country. As we see in Vietnam, nationalist and communist Ho Chi Minh's independence movement never received direct aid from existing nations. This meaning, while Minh's followers throughout Vietnam often utilized the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) and China (also socialist) for guerrilla training, neither country ever gave significant contribution nor even notice to the Vietnamese socialist uprising. Cuba, creating the first socialist society by means of revolution in the Eastern Hemisphere, wasn't able to receive foreign aid and was exclusively internal.
This is decisively unlike the US version of the domino theory, where democracy was introduced, or in a better term, imposed upon the Iraqi people (imposition: "to obtrude or force on another or others"). In other words, no significant Iraqi movement had previously called for democratic conditions in Iraq, and hence the national yearning for democracy may have significantly existed, but was obscure in organization and on the façade. When the US and its petty coalition "liberated" the Iraqi people, they then didn't conform to an existing proclaimed Iraqi effort, but rather externally presented American conditions on the Iraqi people without their known consent (the correct definition of obtrusion).
So it is clear that the external measures to liberate Iraq by America's personal means is already in defiance of the conventional domino theory. Whereas in Vietnam and Latin America an initially internal organization—that of which would be the hub, or the beginning piece, for an alleged domino reaction—overthrew the government and established order, the Iraqis had their order established for them by the US. If Bush actually had faith in the domino theory (which he does), he would not have had to start the chain reaction of democracy in Iraq.
Furthermore, excluding the already existing conditions that negate a portion if not arguably the entire domino theory, the democratic fervor that would ignite the Middle East would have to be independently and internally instigated. The premise of the whole domino theory is inevitable collapse of governments, not externally aided collapse.
By adhering to correct domino standards, all of the Middle East would only practice this White House vision by causing independent (internal) revolution in respective countries, and then founding a democratic state. Of course, US ideals could indirectly influence a democracy in the Middle East under a absolute theory, but past this point, the purpose of America would then be to watch the theory in exercise.
The negligence of independent elements is again something that the Bush foreign policy strikingly disagrees with. In accordance with the system established by the Bush administration, the Middle Eastern domino theory would only be achieved by continuing external imposition of democracy upon an existing state that doesn't promote the American ideology.
This means a war with Iran, a war with Syria, and, if future Republicans following this bogus doctrine were gutsy enough (assuming Bush's economic lapses would afford for such a circumstance, which is very unlikely), a war with Saudi Arabia.
Even if the US ceases the strive for liberty in the Middle East at Iraq, two possible circumstances, both that are the opposite of domino theory, would arise: one would be that Iraq would continue from the coalition efforts a "freedom on the march" escapade. This, however, is extremely unlikely, seeing that Iraq still needs the assistance of the US to maintain its shaky stability. In consequence, it can be judged that Iraq's military capabilities will not be able to undergo such an endeavor before several years (at the very least) expires. This time would necessarily have to be anticipated not only because of the need for a military presence within the country, but also because of the funding needed elsewhere in Iraq, i.e. for electricity, that would impede a military budget.
Otherwise, if the even more infeasible happened—here referring to the organized and internal revolutions—did independently occur in more than one country, it would not be a complete domino theory. Instead, as Iraq would inevitably be the centerpiece of the government-collapse reaction, the countries' democratic movements could only be considered as by-products of an external imposition. In a simpler manner, because Iraq is proven not to be a model for the domino theory, the resulting subordinate movements (the falling pieces) would likewise not exist in a true domino theory manner.
Luckily, some people in the government have overlooked the fallacious indoctrination of the Bush Middle Eastern policy and theory. On the same day president Bush introduce the democratic converse of the domino theory (February 26, 2003), the State Department released among its employees a classified document titled: "Iraq, the Middle East and Change: No Dominoes." The document dispels the White House stance by claiming it "is that this idea that you're going to transform the Middle East and fundamentally alter its trajectory is not credible." In retrospect, and an outlook for the grim future, these words are written truthfully.
By all analyzed evidence, the domino theory presented by an eager Bush administration and republican enthusiasts, is utterly wrong.
In conclusion: if the US was hell-bent on the democratic domino theory materializing in the Middle East and actually relied on the domino theory for foreign policy, Iraq would have toppled dictator Saddam Hussein independently and in an organized fashion (assuming that no spontaneous elements, i.e. the spontaneous protest or revolution, would in fact occur). Of course, this couldn't have happened, because then Bush wouldn't receive his glory. After all, not only in blind dismissal of the foundation of the domino theory, but also in the pinnacle of American imperialism and international righteousness, Bush did eloquently proclaimed,
"I firmly planted the flag of liberty."