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Thread: Brzezinski calls for Iraq pull out

  1. #1
    Partridge Guest

    Brzezinski calls for Iraq pull out

    Brzezinski calls for Iraq pull out

    One of America's most respected elder national security statesmen called for a full pull-out from Iraq Thursday. Delivering the keynote address at the Center for American Progress' "Iraq; Next Steps for U.S. Policy," Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former National Security advisor for President Jimmy Carter, said that "within a year we should be able to complete a course of disengagement" and withdraw from Iraq.

    Brzezinski cited several reasons for withdrawal, among them the "prohibitively expensive" cost of the war and the fact that American leadership and legitimacy has been severely undermined by the insurgency and damaged credibility.

    "We have to make a really cold judgement," said Brzezinski. "Would the consequence of civil war be more devastating than the consequences of staying the course?"

    Iraqi Shiites and Kurds might prevail in a civil war, Brzezinski said.

    "The U.S. umbrella that is designed to prevent these wars is so porous it ends up feeding them," he said.

    It would take a U.S. commitment of half a million troops to make a significant difference in fighting the Iraqi insurgency, Brzezinski said. But, "We are not in a position to do this," he said.

    Brzezinski also called for a new U.S. nuclear dialogue with Iran. A precedent for one already existed in the Bush administration's multi-lateral talks with North Korea on nuclear proliferation, he said.

    "Surely it cannot be our deliberate intention to fuse Iranian nationalism with Iranian fundamentalism?" he said.

    Brzezinski said that however long the U.S. military occupation of Iraq lasted, it was doomed to failure.

    "In a war of attrition," he said, "a foreign occupier is always at a disadvantage. This is a failed occupation."

    Brzezinski said Iraq had not yet collapsed into a full-scale civil war. Far from preventing such a war from breaking out, he said, the continued U.S. military occupation made one far more likely.

    "This is not yet a civil war, in the sense that it is not yet a comprehensive, nation-wide collision between Shiites and Sunnis but we are unintentionally feeding it," he said.

    Brzezinski suggested that the United States "ask Iraqi leaders to ask us to leave" and suggested that those Iraqi politicians who have expressed a desire for American forces to continue the occupation are exercising poor leadership.

    "We are acting as though the Iraqis are our colonial wards," he said. "We are teaching them about democracy by arresting them, bombing them, by humiliating them and also helping them. It is an ambivalent course in democracy."

    Brzezinski also said the president had failed to provide any serious national leadership to back up his commitment to the Iraq war and had failed to call the American people to the spirit of duty and sacrifice needed to win any real war.

    "What bothers me is the packaging," Brzezinski said. He said that if the United States were truly engaged in war, then there would need to for a national mobilization involving a tax on the rich, an overall war tax and a draft. "These actions," he said, "are the basic consequences of serious engagement."

    Brzezinski also hit out at President George W. Bush's newly released National Security Strategy. He called it "an erroneous version of reality."

    Brzezinski urged Bush to widen his circle of advisors. "Words have consequences," he said. "The deliberate misuse of words can be dangerous and a fundamentally altered version of reality can lead to a fear-driven nation."

    Other speakers at the CAP meeting called the bombing of a Shiite mosque in Samara "a turning point for Iraq" and recommended a shift in U.S. priorities from institution-building to a peace process similar to the Dayton accords which sought a resolution for the Bosnia conflict in the nineteen-nineties.

    Jonathan Morrow, a lawyer who worked to rebuild legal institutions in the country after the U.S. invasion said "Iraq was dealt with as a post-conflict crisis, which is quite ironic actually because the conflict was just beginning."

    "The Iraqi Constitution -- for all its flaws -- is an authentic version of what Iraqis want," he said. "Iraq looks like a lot less of a disaster if you accept that there will be a loosely central government and if you focus on peace-building rather than nation-building or institution-building."

    "The model is not difficult," Morrow said, "to bring all the players to the table, to build a consensus version of what peace should look like in Iraq. One of the key questions is to find someone who authentically speaks for the Sunni Arabs."

    Jonathan Finer, Baghdad Correspondent for the Washington Post, said the influence of Iran in Iraq was hard to overstate, particularly in the case of Iranian Shiite clerics whose voice he called "a significant force" in Iraqi politics.

    Morrow said, "We cannot expect to succeed in Iraq without involving the regional players - and that means involving Iran. You cannot pursue conflicting policies. But there do have to be priorities and that doesn't necessarily mean sacrificing security interests."

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Interesting. He's hard to figure out.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  3. #3
    Partridge Guest
    I think he's a 'realist', in the Henry Kissenger sense of the word. Though some say his book The Grand Chessboard is like a bible to the neo-cons.

  4. #4
    Partridge Guest
    Democracy Push by Bush Attracts Doubters in Party

    Even as it presents an updated national security strategy, the Bush administration is facing fresh doubts from some Republicans who say its emphasis on promoting democracy around the world has come at the expense of protecting other American interests.

    The second thoughts signify a striking change in mood over one of President Bush's cherished tenets, pitting Republicans who call themselves realists against the neoconservatives who saw the invasion of Iraq as a catalyst for change and who remain the most vigorous advocates of a muscular American campaign to foster democratic movements.

    "You are hearing more and more questions about the administration's approach on this issue," said Lorne W. Craner, president of the International Republican Institute, a foundation linked to the Republican Party that supports democratic activities abroad. "The 'realists' in the party are rearing their heads and asking, 'Is this stuff working?' "

    The critics, who include Senators Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Richard G. Lugar of Indiana and Representative Henry J. Hyde of Illinois, as well as Henry Kissinger and Brent Scowcroft, are alarmed at the costs of military operations and of nation-building in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    They have also been shaken by the victory of Hamas in Palestinian elections in January and by the gains Islamists scored in elections in Iraq, Egypt and Lebanon.

    The administration, with support from legislators like Senators John McCain of Arizona and Sam Brownback of Kansas, contends that whatever their outcome, elections are better than violent upheaval. But critics worry that antidemocratic extremists will prevail wherever tradition and existing civil institutions are too weak to protect the rights of minorities or to nurture moderates.

    They also argue that heavy-handed pressure has strained American relations with Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Russia and China, making it harder to enlist them in fighting terrorism, stabilizing the Middle East and curbing nuclear weapons.

    The renewed violence in Iraq since the voting there has discredited, in their view, the promise of democracy as an outlet for tensions, bringing sectarian parties— and their affiliated militias — to the fore.

    "You cannot in my opinion just impose a democratic form of government on a country with no history and no culture and no tradition of democracy," said Senator Hagel.

    Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is traveling this week in South America, Asia and Australia in part to promote democracy, acknowledges the growing dissent but says the administration will stick to its goals.

    "There is a debate, and I think it's a debate that's healthy," she said. "This is obviously a really big change in American foreign policy, to put the promotion of democracy at the center of it. And people take very seriously what this president is doing and intends to do."

    Mr. Bush's intent is clear from the very first sentence of the national security strategy paper issued yesterday: "It is the policy of the United States to seek and support democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world." The 49-page document calls this task "the work of generations."

    It names as strongholds of tyranny North Korea, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Belarus, Myanmar and Zimbabwe. It gives the United States credit for toppling Saddam Hussein and the Taliban, and cites "some preliminary steps" toward democracy in Saudi Arabia and "more open but still flawed" elections in Egypt. It says that the Palestinian voting was "free, fair and inclusive" but that democratic principles "are tested by the victory of Hamas."

    The concern, expressed by Representative Hyde, chairman of the International Relations Committee, is that the administration views democracy as a "magic formula."

    "Implanting democracy in large areas would require that we possess an unbounded power and undertake an open-ended commitment of time and resources, which we cannot and will not do," he said.

    William Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard, said: "What's really driving the criticism is disenchantment with the war. But it's unfair to say that supporters of the war thought it was going to be easy to build a democracy in Iraq."

    Even many supporters of the democracy program say the administration's miscalculations in Iraq have done damage to the cause.

    "I think this administration tends to have the right general policies but to be remarkably unwilling to look at how weak their instruments of implementation are," said Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker.

    The American effort has also stirred controversy abroad. This year the United States is spending $1.7 billion to support groups seeking political change, but lately Russia, Egypt, China and many countries in Africa and Latin America have cracked down on these groups.

    Senator McCain, a leading proponent of the program, said that despite these setbacks and controversies, and the lack of civilian structures and rule of law in many countries, the administration was right to push for democracy and elections.

    "The moral of the story is that democracy is tough," he said. "We have to recognize that you can have two steps forward and one step back."

    The issue of which should come first — civil society and rule of law, or elections — was underscored by the Hamas victory. Before the Palestinian elections, Washington had pressed for a law requiring political candidates to disavow racism and lawlessness, but was rebuffed.

    "There's an assumption here that somehow you can neatly build a civil society, and neatly build the habits of democracy, and then you take off the authoritarian hat and everything's in place for democracy to rise," Ms. Rice said, when asked about such criticism. "I just don't think it works that way in the real world."

    One prominent neoconservative, Francis Fukuyama, asserts in a new book that the administration embraced democracy as a cornerstone of its policy only after the failure to find unconventional weapons in Iraq. The issue was seized upon to justify the war in retrospect, and then expanded for other countries, he says.

    Mr. Fukuyama, who opposed the war in Iraq, said in an interview that it was naïve and contrary to the tenets of conservatism for the United States to think that it could act as midwife or cheerleader for democracy in societies it knows little about.

    Indeed, as he points out, in the 2000 election campaign, both Mr. Bush and Ms. Rice, then his foreign policy adviser, criticized the Clinton administration's interventions to promote democracy in Somalia, Haiti and the Balkans as misplaced idealism.

    "It's this weird situation, where you have a really conservative Republican president using all this Clintonesque rhetoric about rights and ideals," Mr. Fukuyama said.

    Administration officials say they are guided not by naïveté but by hard-nosed necessity. If authoritarian governments in the Middle East do not open themselves to reform, extremists will eventually blow them up, they say.

    Mr. Craner, of the International Republican Institute, who was an assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor in Mr. Bush's first term, said that at least rhetorically, Republicans generally supported democracy and were likely to continue doing so.

    Even such leaders of the "realist" camp, like Mr. Kissinger, a former secretary of state, and Mr. Scowcroft, national security adviser under the first President Bush, say they support democracy as a major part of American foreign policy.

    But in an echo of the cold war debates over whether to confront or negotiate with the Soviet Union, both have also warned that the United States should not risk alienating crucial allies or fomenting unrest by demanding rapid internal change.

    Mr. Kissinger noted in a commentary last year, for example, "The United States is probably the only country in which 'realist' can be used as a pejorative epithet."

    But the leaders of the cause are not backing down.

    "Obviously, we want stability and we want allies in the war on terror," said one, Representative David Dreier, Republican of California. "But I don't think we should back down from democratization just because it's hard."

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