Friday, January 23, 2009

Foreign Entanglement Friday

Why not another post about the foreign war quagmires?

In Foreign Policy, Marc Lynch has an excellent breakdown of what it will take to withdraw troops from Iraq. Lynch takes seriously President Obama's pledge to end the war in Iraq. (End it for the United States that is.)

Inevitably there will be calls to stall, or if they do start drawing down, to step back up at the first sign of trouble. Obama needs to ignore these and start the process. The Iraqi Parliament drew up a bill the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) to begin this process and ultimately have a full withdrawal of US troops by 2011. The US needs to work together with the Iraqis to ensure it is implimented.

Upon taking office, Obama will likely face great pressure from various parties -- military, Iraqi, and partisan -- to relax his plans to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq. There will likely be coordinated arguments about the fragility of the current situation, the risk of squandering the gains of the "surge," and the need to maintain troop strength through the provincial and national elections. These arguments should be resisted. The catalog of political frailties and security risks are real, but there is little reason to believe they will be any less real in six months or in a year. Postponing withdrawals would continue to freeze the current situation in place, while squandering the best opportunity the United States will ever have to reshape its commitments to Iraq.

There is only one chance to make a first impression. The transition to a new administration represents a unique -- and short-lived -- opportunity to establish a new relationship with the Iraqi government and the Iraqi people. It is absolutely essential that upon taking office, Obama clearly affirms, publicly and privately, his commitment to his timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops. At the same time, the president should assure the Iraqis that he intends to jointly coordinate and manage the drawdown of U.S. troops. Any uncertainty about American intentions in this regard should be corrected. Front-loading withdrawals would help significantly with the July referendum on the SOFA/WA.

Read the whole article. He carefully weighs the issues at stake and has steps to implement the withdrawal. It's not Obama's war. He needs to take advantage of the time and mandate to start this process. The Iraqis have to realize there's no more blank cheque commitment from the US.

2 comments:

  1. Obama did it for us!!!! Obama & The US Government has new grants for everyone. When was the last time you looked at government grants? There is more money than ever. Don't miss out.

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  2. I was going to delete this comment for soliciting, but I'll leave it up because it's a sign of the times. "Money up for grabs! Take all you can!"

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