We are trying to bring democracy to Iraq in particular because a pro-Western government enjoying legitimacy and popular support would have been the most enduring means of securing our interests there. Deposing Saddam & Sons was essential because they posed a permanent strategic threat to the region and to U.S. interests. But their successor -- the popularly elected Maliki government -- has failed.The above is the response I would expect from the neocons but I'm not sure what to make of what follows. It sounds a lot like John Murtha's "cut and run".
The cause of that failure is rooted in an Iraqi political culture that makes it as yet impossible for enough of the political leadership to act with a sense of national consciousness. We should nonetheless make a last effort to change the composition of the government and assemble a new one composed of those -- Kurds, moderate Sunnis, secular Shiites and some of the religious Shiites -- who might be capable of reaching a grand political settlement.
The United States should be giving Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki a clear ultimatum: If he does not come up with a political solution in two months or cede power to a new coalition that will, the United States will abandon the Green Zone; retire to its bases; move much of its personnel to Kurdistan, where we are welcome and safe; and let the civil war take its course. Let the current Green Zone-protected Iraqi politicians who take their cue from Moqtada al-Sadr face the insurgency alone. That might concentrate their minds on either making a generous offer to the Sunnis or stepping aside for a coalition that would.If that wasn't enough to really confuse me on a Friday morning he next insists we shouldn't negotiate with Iraq's neighbors who will obviously step in to fill the void.
The key to progress is political change within Iraq. The newest fashion, however, is to go "regional," engaging Iran and Syria in order to have them pull our chestnuts out of the fire. This idea rests on the notion that both Iran and Syria have an interest in stability in Iraq.While the Iranians may like the idea of US troops being bogged down in the quagmire that is Iraq the last thing they want is a cauldron of chaos on their border. Krauthammer once again shows us that he and the rest of the neocons are totally divorced from reality.
Very hardheaded realist terms: interest, stability, regional powers. But stringing them together to suggest that Iran and Syria share our interests in stability is the height of fantasy. In fact, Iran and Syria have an overriding interest in chaos in Iraq -- which is precisely why they each have been abetting the insurgency and fanning civil war.