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International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences
Volume 62


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"Coercive Diplomacy" in David Hare's Stuff Happens (2004)

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This paper addresses George Bush the junior's decision to invade Iraq in 2003 on the plea of its weapons of mass destructions (WMD's), as delineated in David Hare's Stuff Happens (2004), a docudrama depicting the events following the 9/11 attacks and preceding the US’s invasion of Iraq. The paper explains how Bush deals with the opponents—Colin Powell, the British PM Tony Blair, and Hans Blix—opposing his decision, based on "fabricated" evidence, by employing his father's strategy of coercive diplomacy against them, depending on both his faith and his position as President. Drawing on a postcolonial approach, the analysis of Hare's piece has demonstrated two significant aspects: 1) Bush, implementing such a strategy of coercive diplomacy, has succeeded in achieving his private agenda in invading Iraq; 2) Hare is possessed of the dramatic dexterity of mixing fiction (the significant roles of the nameless fictional characters as well as the unnamed narrator-actors) with facts (the main figures of politics) for supporting play’s different conflicts. The present paper has reached a number of findings. First, the US attacked Iraq, for Bush had to show his people some reaction to the 9/11 attacks. Second, Bush chose Iraq in particular and not North Korea, for instance, for his personal motives. Third, the US's double standard is stressed through the unresolved Israeli/Palestinian conflict negotiated throughout. Fourth, the coercive-diplomacy strategy has always been the US’s means for (il-) legal ends and, thus, this strategy can be considered a postcolonial construct in Hare’s Stuff Happens.


International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences (Volume 62)
K. S. Sirwah ""Coercive Diplomacy" in David Hare's Stuff Happens (2004)", International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences, Vol. 62, pp. 73-90, 2015
Online since:
Oct 2015

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