Postwar Reconstruction, the Reverse Course and the New Way Forward: Bis Repetitas?

Jeff Bridoux

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This paper compares two sets of US-led postwar reconstruction strategies: the Reverse Course in Japan after World War II and the New Way Forward in Iraq in 2007 and 2008. Relying on Antonio Gramsci's concept of power, the article argues that in the wake of military victory in Japan and Iraq, the US attempted to found a new historical bloc in the occupied countries, a historical bloc centred on capitalism as a mode of production and US ideas and values as the ideological cement coalescing the Japanese and Iraqi population and elite around the US project. The paper contends that consistency of action between reconstruction policies, and between reconstruction policies and regional and global foreign policies, is the key to the efficiency of postwar reconstruction projects. Consistency of action refers to the maximisation of power resources and to their use in a coherent way; that is avoiding opposition and favouring complementarities between means of power used. Such consistency was achieved in Japan while its attainment in Iraq is less obvious.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-66
JournalJournal of Intervention and Statebuilding
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Mar 2011


  • postwar reconstruction
  • Iraq
  • Japan
  • Antonio Gramsci
  • New Way Forward


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