The only sensible strategy is to withdraw rapidly but in good order. Only that step can break the paralysis now gripping US strategy in the region. The next step is to choose a new aim, regional stability, not a meaningless victory in Iraq. And progress toward that goal requires revising our policy toward Iran. If the president merely renounced his threat of regime change by force, that could prompt Iran to lessen its support to Taliban groups in Afghanistan. Iran detests the Taliban and supports them only because they will kill more Americans in Afghanistan as retaliation in event of a US attack on Iran. Iran's policy toward Iraq would also have to change radically as we withdraw. It cannot want instability there. Iraqi Shiites are Arabs, and they know that Persians look down on them. Cooperation between them has its limits.Read the whole thing, it's short (PDF).
No quick reconciliation between the US and Iran is likely, but US steps to make Iran feel more secure make it far more conceivable than a policy calculated to increase its
insecurity. The president's policy has reinforced Iran's determination to acquire nuclear weapons, the very thing he purports to be trying to prevent.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Iraq: out now
Sam Smith points to retired Lt. Gen. William Odom's 2 April 08 testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: