U.S. Government and Politics

U.S.Government and Politics

Thedelegation of power is a common aspect of the majority of thepolitical systems, and the distribution of sovereignty is the onlyfactor that differentiates the government structures. Federal,unitary, and confederal systems are the primary government structuresthat distinguish the division of power in a state. Each of thesesystems of government has distinct features, and the politicalaspects of a country determine the most appropriate way that thegoverning body should exercise its authority. The politicalstructure in Iraq made the United States consider a federal system asthe suitable form of government for this nation, but other attributesof this state also make confederations and unitary systemsappropriate.

Federalsystems have an equal distribution of sovereignty between theregional and central governments. Moreover, every governing body hasits set of responsibilities and jurisdiction (Bond and Smith 79). Inthis political system, individual states cannot be dependent on thenational government for their political power since they areautonomous. However, when the governing bodies have to alter thedivision of power, the central and regional governments have toparticipate in the undertaking (Bond and Smith 80).

Theprimary difference between a unitary system and federalism is themanner in which the levels of government distribute power. In thissystem, the central government has complete sovereignty. Although thecentral government can establish regional governing bodies, it has todelegate the authority that the local units exercise (Bond and Smith78). Since the central government assigns power regionally, it canalso take the authority back. On the other hand, local governmentsare sovereign in a confederation, and they have to agree unanimouslyto grant power to the national government (Bond and Smith 77).Individuals from the states with significant authority would,therefore, not be under the leadership of the central government. Besides, the constituent states have the right to get out of unionswith other local units (Bond and Smith 78).

Severalfactors made the US promote a federal system for Iraq rather than aunitary government. The ethnic and partisan diversity in Iraq impliesthat the most appropriate system of government for this state has tobe one that utilizes the nation’s diversity to establish a stabledemocracy. Granting political power to the local units means that thecentral government respects the policy priorities of the Arabs,Turkmen, and Kurds, and this establishes a positive change in thenation (Bond and Smith 81). Although a group such as the Kurds mightprefer a unitary government since it is free from the control of thecentral administration, other ethnic groups in the nation would notfeel the same.

Ifa unitary system were established in Iraq, the regional units wouldhave limited powers, and it could be difficult to arbitrate disputesbetween the Kurds and Turkmen, as well as the Shiites and Sunnis. Ina unitary system, the regional units created by the centralgovernment in Iraq might make some of the ethnic groups think thatthe state has not equally delegated power to the regions. As aresult, the division between the Turkmen, Kurds, and Arabs wouldwiden, making it difficult to establish a stable democracy in thenation. The opposition forces in Iraq might also push for a coup tooverthrow the president considering that the country’s democracy isnot stable.

Thepromotion of a federal system instead of a confederate in Iraq wasalso the result of the unique characteristics of this country. Underthe confederate system, the local units grant the centralgovernment’s authority, and this power does not govern the citizensin the sovereign states (Bond and Smith 77). Iraq requires anefficient federal judiciary that would adjudicate disputes and keepwatch of the rights of the power bases, and this would only bepossible with federalism. A confederation would encourage theestablishment of several ethnically based units in Iraq, and thiscould intensify the current ethnic divisions in the country (Dawidaand Dawida).

Eachof the ethnic groups in Iraq has to be a custodian of theConstitution. However, if the central government is weak, there wouldbe no institution that can monitor the rights of Kurds, Arabs,Shiites, and Sunnis. A Confederate implies that any of the regionalunits in Iraq can withdraw from the central government, and when thisoccurs, the distribution of revenue in the nation would not beproportional (Dawisha and Dawisha). A confederation in Iraq wouldalso render the central government ineffective in controlling some ofthe nation’s assets such as petroleum, and this adversely affectsthe sharing of revenues.

Severalcharacteristics about Iraq make a federal system a better choice thana confederation and a unitary government. The division between Arabs,Kurds, and Turkmen, as well as the Shiite and Sunni split, wouldenable each of the groups to exercise its powers independent of theother (Bond and Smith 79). While each of the Iraqi ethnic groupsmight be concentrated in a particular region of the nation andexercise authority independently, they would apply constitutionalmeasures to ensure than none abuses the delegated power. The adoptionof a parliamentary system by the nation during the Hashemite monarchydemonstrated that the ethnic groups in Iraq prefer a system thatshares power in every level of government (Dawisha and Dawisha).

Thedifferences in political ideologies between the ethnic groups in Iraqalso illustrate that a federal system is appropriate for the nation.When the Arabs, Kurds, Sunni, and Shiites share sovereignty, thecentral government can resolve their disputes and monitor theirrights (Dawisha and Dawisha). The presence of resources such aspetroleum in Iraq also makes it necessary for a central government tobe in place so that it can control the sharing of revenues betweendifferent regions. When the federal government takes this approach,the ethnic groups in Iraq would not see the need for separating ortaking control of the state.

Eventhough Iraq has many attributes that make a federal system the mostpreferable, it also has some features indicating that a unitarygovernment is a good choice. By having a head of state that wouldcontrol the nation’s sovereignty in the central government, thedirectly elected leader would be the best option for all the ethnicgroups (Dawisha and Dawisha). Besides, the regional units would alsoexercise the power delegated to them by the central government, andthe factions would not feel like they are left out in theimplementation of policies. Since Iraq has different ethnic groupsthat might compete for power, a unitary government would apply asimilar set of laws to each local unit, hence establishinguniformity.

Iraqalso has characteristics showing that a confederation might be abetter choice than the other systems of government. Under thispolitical arrangement, the regional units have to agree unanimouslyto grant authority to the national government (Bond and Smith 77).The ethnic and religious groups in Iraq would be brought together bythis system of government since there would all have a voice in thepolitical decisions of the nation. The political units that theethnic groups in Iraq would establish can enable them to make theappropriate decisions that might prevent conflict between them.

TheKurds, Arabs, Sunni, and Shiites disagree on many political aspects,and when the local governments have a substantial amount ofauthority, they can establish a stable democracy. One feature thatcharacterizes a confederation is the ability of a local unit to bedissociated from the national government (Bond and Smith 77). Thisattribute can help in keeping the nation together and prevent thewidening of the rift between the ethnic groups in Iraq. Equallyimportant, all the local units have to agree before making anyalterations regarding the division of powers, and this would suitIraq (Bond and Smith 77).


Aunitary system is different from federalism by the manner in whichthe levels of government distribute power. In federal systems,individualstates cannot be dependent on the national government for theirpolitical power since they are autonomous. Regional units aresovereign in a confederation, and they have to agree to grant powerto the national government unanimously. A federal system is best forIraq since giving political power to the local units means that thecentral government respects the priorities of the ethnic groups,hence establishing a positive change in the nation.


Bond,Jon, and Smith, Kevin. AnalyzingAmerican Democracy: Politics and Political Science. New York: Routledge. 2013. Print.

Dawisha,Adeed, and Karen Dawisha. “How to Build a Democratic Iraq.”ForeignAffairs.May/ June 2003. Web. Sept. 25, 2016.