Thursday, October 26, 2006

Dr. Leon Hadar's comments

I swear, the longer I live the more I like what I read coming out of CATO. I never expected to write a sentence like that but go look at this.

...the president could become an ex-president if he persists in following the policy narrative drawn by his neoconservative advisors. By continuing to depict the ouster of Saddam Hussein as part of a grand imperial American plan to make Iraq and the Middle East safe for democracy, Bush will only dig himself into a deeper hole.

Bush should recognize before it's too late that, not unlike other dogmatic ideologues in history, the neoconservative intellectuals who argue that Iraq could be turned into a shining model of democracy for the Middle East are advancing their own wishful thinking and political agendas. They are not advancing the interests of the rest of America.

The notion that Iraq and most of the Arab Middle East could be transformed into a full-fledged democratic system is nothing short of a fantasy. Much of the region is at the stage of political development that Italy and much of southern Europe were in middle of the 19th century.


To lower public expectations about Iraq would require the White House to accept that the two most likely scenarios under which U.S. troops could exit from Iraq will shatter neoconservative dreams. Those scenarios are (1) the rise of an authoritarian leader who could maintain a unified Iraq by centralizing power in Baghdad, and (2) the division of Iraq into three separate Kosovo-like mini-states, under some kind of regional and international safeguards. That could be an American-Turkish protectorate in the Kurdish North; a European-Arab military presence in the Sunni areas; and a U.N. authority in the Shiite parts.

Only by transforming the current Pax Americana strategy in Iraq, by allowing America's allies a chance to sit in the post-war driver's seat, will the Bush Administration be able to persuade France, Germany, Russia, and India to share in paying the costs of stabilizing and reconstructing Iraq.

It's a formula for certain success for Republicans in general and the administration in particular. It scares me that I like it, but I do. When all is said and done, what's best for Iraq really is what's best for us all. If that means letting the people who started this mess off the hook, then so be it.

Sadly, even though a crazy old blogger who doesn't want to admit he's inching toward Libertarian thinking can see clear reasoning behind this piece, the logic still won't stand a chance in Washington. It smacks of humility, and that is more alien to politicians than straightforward candor.

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