Sunday, August 31, 2008

How to Get Out (and Stay Out) of Iraq

Thomas Barnett lays out the best strategy for leaving Iraq such that we are least likely to ever feel pressured to return:
With American combat troops now slated to depart Iraq by 2011, our intervention moves into its final phase, with the crucial goal being the expansion of economic opportunity for ordinary citizens.

Our - and Iraq's - success here will determine the likelihood of our military's return down the road under less favorable circumstances.

Much is made of Iraq's seeming unwillingness to spend its oil profits on infrastructure, the assumption being that Baghdad is milking American taxpayers. Let me offer another explanation: Iraq lacks sufficient "counterparty" capacity to negotiate, conclude and manage the necessary deals with the outside world.

He goes on to argue that helping Iraq develop that ability over the next two years is key to the success of our withdrawal.

Barnett's new book, in which he lays out his vision for America's role in the world after George Bush's ignoble rule ends, comes out early next year.

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