“The Gaza conflict is a fitting end to the Bush presidency,” said Francis Fukuyama, author of The End of History, to Financial Times. “Israel is applying the original Bush doctrine in Gaza, which says that politics can be changed on the ground through military means.”
Military action may (or may not) change regimes on the ground at a very high price (Afghanistan, Iraq) but if a stable improvement is sought both for that nation and US national interests, both on security as well as hearts and minds of the civilian population, policies cannot be formulated and applied by ignoring legitimate desires and needs of that population, but by embracing and guiding them to a reconciliation of interests that would ultimately serve both.
The situation in Iraq has relatively stabilized while it is getting worse in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. In both Iraq and Afghanistan, however, most experts agree that these countries would fall into chaos, violence and disintegration would US troops withdraw tomorrow. Hope is now that the new US administration under President-elect Barack Obama would change the concept of “military can change politics on the ground” without addressing legitimate needs of the population in these countries.
William Luers, Thomas R. Pickering, and Jim Walsh recently published an article entitled How to Deal with Iran in New York Review of Books. Quote: “Three of the most pressing national security issues facing the Obama administration—nuclear proliferation, the war in Iraq, and the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan—have one element in common: Iran.” Add to that set of issues the Israeli-Palestinian conflict where Iran has a direct political interest and involvement.
Another quote from the same analysis: “The US can impose costs on Iran, but it cannot impose its will. The same is true for Iran. Progress requires on both sides a greater focus on strategy rather than tactics. Adopting a new, integrated approach will require political leadership that is disciplined and willing to take risks. There could be frustrations, setbacks and dangers, but the US and Iran can avoid a downward spiral that risks military conflict. They can also create an opportunity for progress on some of the most difficult and complicated challenges the US will have to confront in the coming years.”
Interesting to see if and to what extent there will be changes in outgoing Bush administration’s Iran policy.
The news is that the incoming Obama administration is on fast-track in putting together a competent team and in formulating the policies to be applied towards Iran.