Saturday, June 16, 2007

What Will Happen in Iraq?

I was just catching up on Immanuel Wallerstein's last few semi-monthly "commentaries" on the Fernand Braudel Center website. His perspective is almost always provocative and interesting; he does a better job than most commentators at panning away from the day-to-day to reveal the bigger picture. I was especially intrigued by his second-most-recent commentary, which outlines two possible "endgames" for the Iraq War, one based on the realities faced by President Bush, the other on the realities faced by Moqtada al-Sadr. For those of us who believe in the urgency of ending the war/occupation in Iraq, it provides food for thought. One of his side comments is that the Democrats share Bush's desire to keep a U.S. military base in Iraq. Is this true? I wonder if we should be pushing the leading Democratic '08 candidates to commit during the primary season to repudiate any such plans. Of the leading contenders, my sense is that Edwards (still my favorite at the moment) has basically committed to that, with his pledge to leave only U.S. troops to protect the Embassy, while Obama and Clinton have both left the door open to the possibility of a permanent U.S. base. But perhaps they, too, could be swayed to commit if it becomes a more public issue. Some of the less prominent candidates, such as Kucinich and Richardson, seem to have taken an even stronger position than Edwards. Is this something we need to pay attention to? It might matter quite a bit in the long run.


Rob said...

Congressional Republicans want to save themselves and pull out of Iraq. And they're planning to abandon Bush after September.

However, look for Bush and co. to come up with a pre-text to initiate an air war with Iran. They will then claim that for strategic reasons we can't withdraw from Iraq. A sickening scenario to be sure but I can see it happening.

As for the permanent bases, you're quite correct, we do need to pin the candidates down.

Ambivalent_Maybe said...

My sense is that Edwards's statement could imply a permanent US base. After all, have you seen the embassy we're building out there?

Pinning candidates down on permanent bases would be a good idea. But I don't see any US bases in Iraq being very permanent. If we try to make one, I suspect we'll see something like a large bombing or takeover of the base, and the complete evacuation of US personnel from the country shortly thereafter.

Rob said...

The "Korea" model we're hearing for Iraq scares me. We're still in Korea. Given the oil at stake in the Persian Gulf, I suspect the "moderate" course among the political class will be to justify bases to maintain a presence in the region for "stability."