Tuesday, August 03, 2004

The Los Angeles Times calls it John Kerry's "Iraq exit plan". General Glut's Globblog calls it John Kerry's "irresponsible pipe dream".
Within a first term as president, Sen. John F. Kerry thinks he could attract enough international help in Iraq to make it a "reasonable" goal to replace most U.S. troops stationed there with foreign forces, he told The Times in an interview.

"I will engage in the creation of a very different equation, very rapidly," the Democratic presidential nominee said of troop deployment in Iraq.

. . . while he offered clear indications of the broad diplomatic direction he would pursue to obtain more foreign financial and military help in Iraq, he said, "I'm not going to lay out every crossed 't' or dotted 'i' of a negotiating process that is very complicated and depends to some degree on the good faith and persuasive power of the presidency itself."
OK, this isn't as bad as Nixon's "secret plan" in 1968 to end the Vietnam war, but it's of a like quality. Kerry continues to foster the belief that the only reason the Europeans, Russians and the rest didn't jump on the board the Iraq Occupation Express is because of incompetent diplomacy on the part of Bush. Divergent interests just don't come into the equation. The line is an attempt to boost the propaganda value of attacking Bush's lack of leadership, which is all well and good. However, it also makes for reckless politics at the beginning of a Kerry administration.
In the interview, Kerry said he would offer several tangible inducements to encourage European and Arab nations to do more to help secure and rebuild Iraq. Among those steps would be the appointment of a U.N. high commissioner to give the international community a greater say in the development of a permanent Iraqi government, granting other countries greater access to reconstruction contracts and the convening of an international conference "that brings leaders together for an immediate raising of the stakes of diplomacy."

But beyond these specifics, Kerry repeatedly argued that the key to obtaining more assistance in Iraq was a change in the international climate that would become possible only with a new administration.
This is just foolish. The whole idea of a UN High Commissioner is terribly passe. With a sovereign Iraqi government now in place, any possible future role for the UN has been greatly marginalized. Instead of Iraqi elections in January 2005, Kerry is promising a new benevolent dictator? The question of contracts is also moot since foreign capital is staying out of Iraq due to the security situation, not because the Pentagon won't share the kitty with it. Another international conference? Gee the big donors conference in Madrid in October went so well, sure, why not have another?!?

At least Kerry is honest at the end; his "exit strategy" amounts to little more than faith in his ability to work magic.

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