Over at Oxbog, Patrick Belton talks about Iraq and international cooperation:
This Weekly Standard piece by Bob Kagan and William Kristol is worth noting. The authors begin by repeating – correctly – that “American ideals and American interests converge … a more democratic Middle East will both improve the lives of long-suffering peoples and enhance America’s national security.” They then applaud statements to that effect by Condoleezza Rice and President Bush calling for a “generational commitment” to Iraq and the Middle East comparable to the U.S.’s commitment to Western Europe in the aftermath of the Second World War. And in this, the security advisor and the president are also indeed applauseworthy: the intertwined task of promoting democracy and pursuing counterterror in the Middle East is as obviously central to U.S. security today as creating a secure, commercially prosperous free Europe was then.
I could not agree more completely, and endorse everything that I have quoted, as far as the authors go. However – and although they are two writers I respect deeply on the subject – I think they might be too quick to reject out of hand the prospect of looking overseas for soldiers. The authors seem to think of the matter as a choice between two options: simply asking our dedicated soldiers to do more of what they have been doing so well, or giving the entire enterprise over to the internationals – in which case either Kofi and Jacques Chirac will be the ones to determine the pace of Iraq’s democratization, or still worse, we may suffer “the possibly unfortunate effects of turning over the security of Iraqis to a patchwork of ill-prepared forces from elsewhere in the world.”
Hmmm. Though I agree with Kagan and Kristol on their other points, this particular bit seems a bit of a false dichotomy.
I couldn’t agree more; this nails the Thomas Friedman point I only alluded to below, about the need to alliance.
UPDATE: Once again, the Comments for this article feature some pretty smart people elevating the content of this blog.