I wanted to echo some of the points that have been raised in recent issues of The National Interest, including in Dimitri Simes' editorial, "Ending the Crusade" (Jan./Feb. 2007).
Solving Iraq, if it can be solved, now means getting real about and engaging in a broad range of Middle East deal-making between internal groups inside Iraq and among its neighbors.
It means working to establish a Palestinian state in a manner that maintains the viability and security of both Israel and Palestine. It means offering Syria a Libya-like route out of the international doghouse. It means massaging Iran's ego in the region without handing the entire Middle East over on a golden platter-which America seems to be doing with its counterproductive strategy. It means figuring out what China and Russia want most in their foreign policy objectives and doing what we can to trade their needs for our own.
This all means that we must have an end to diplomacy on the cheap-and national security on the cheap. And a surge in troop levels without a plan, without the other component parts of a credible and believable grand strategy, is sending more soldiers off to die unnecessarily-or to kill Iraqis, many who are absolutely innocent in all this mess and who will no doubt hate the United States for a long time ahead.
There are alternatives-but nearly all of them require a creative, bold approach that might enable us to leapfrog over our massive failures in the region.
Senior Fellow and Director,
American Strategy Program,
New America Foundation
The Washington Note blog