Saturday, November 18, 2006

What is the end-game in Iraq?

Frederik Kagan has argued that the proposal, by some members of the Democratic Party, to withdraw coalition troops to the borders of Iraq would be a mistake. This raises an interesting question; if staying embroiled in the conflict in Iraq is the right thing to do, indeed the best thing to do, what is it that we hope to achieve by staying in? What is the end-game we have in mind? If, to borrow from the Americans, we should “stay the course”, where exactly is it we expect that course to lead us?

I’m not so sure any definitive victory may be had in Iraq. A free and stable democracy is, I fear, too much to hope for (at least in the near future). That being so, in deciding what course of action to take, our deliberations should be guided not by lofty, but unrealistic aspirations, but instead by which outcome would be the least detrimental to our long-term ambitions.


istanbultory said...

A free and stable democracy is, I fear, not on the cards at all. The overthrow of Saddam Hussein by the US has swept away Iran's local rival, and free elections in Iraq have brought the Shia majority to power. Iraq, weakened by the immense violence which has followed Saddam's overthrow, now regards Shia Iran as the dominant partner in the relationship. King Abdullah of Jordan has warned of a Shia crescent. In yet another way, George Bush/Tony's disastrous impact will live on well past their terms in office: the ultimate result of the Iraq debacle is an authoritarian Iraq leaning toward Axis of Evil member Iran.

Tory in the Wilderness said...

A very interesting analysis. Iraq is on a path which looks set to lead us far from any lofty goals we may originally have had. The sad truth is that there is no 'victory' in Iraq, at least not in the short-to-medium term.