< meta name="DC.Date.Valid.End" content="20050825"> Amendment Nine: Operation If We Go, You Go

Monday, November 28, 2005

Operation If We Go, You Go

According to this article, and some rumblings I'm hearing in the Indian and Pak news, Khalilzad will be pushing the option I described in this post a little over a month ago. I'd take credit for it, but I can't due to my inherent modesty and gentlemanly habits.
A premature U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq might trigger a regional conflict in the Middle East that could draw in predominately Shiite Iran and Sunni Arab states, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad warns in a television interview.
In all seriousness, this is beautiful. The gambit will work, in my estimation, because the regional powers have far more to lose than we could ever gain. Originally, by virtue of our isolation in Iraq, we had reached a point of Pareto optimality. But when faced with our exit (hasty at that) the regional powers (Turkey and Iran mainly, with Syria, Saudi Arabia and Jordan in the second tier) can easily see a situation where the Pareto superior move is clear: the US phases out while regional powers phase in until law and order are established.

I'm glad to see this. Heartened actually. It makes it clear to me that the people calling the shots now on Iraq have their ear to the ground and are trying anything to keep it together. On the other hand, I hope its clear to everyone what this means. Essentially, the United States is saying to the rest of the world: we can't handle this, its your problem now. However great a strategic move this may be, it can't be underestimated how much this will degrade the country's future maneuverability.

One note to anyone out there listening: while its nice to see this covered in our news channels, the Al-Jazeeras of the world (and Turkish equivalents) would be, in my opinion, surprisingly receptive to such a message (however tweaked it may need to be). It plays into their ongoing narrative of "the oafish giant US screws up again".