Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Didn't Realize the "Demos" for Other Countries was the U.S. Congress ...
Having the senators make these recommendations from a conference call in Tel Aviv might also not have been the most wise location as well, but that is a separate issue.
The ongoing problem in the Middle East is for the U.S. to find leaders who can advance the U.S. strategic agenda and also be perceived as legitimate. The Arab monarchies have a bit of wiggle room--although the constant pronouncements from Washington that only democracies are legitimate forms of government undermines the notion that other forms of authority sanctified by tradition might also be perceived as legitimate (and exist with the consent of the governed).
Maliki has had problems with Congress before. And the criticisms made are all very valid. But in the end Iraqi voters empowered parliament (and a number of Iraqis, as Alexis Debat has noted, have empowered the militias)--so finding the type of leader we would like for Iraq who could also enjoy a democratic mandate is highly unlikely.
Max Boot writing in the forthcoming issue of Commentary on "How Not to Get out of Iraq" is critical of those who call for the "strongman" approach, but himself acknowledges at the end that "the surge might still fail in the long run if Iraqis prove incapable of reaching political compromises even in a more secure environment." So what are our options?
"You have to rule Iraq with the PM that you have and not the one that you want."
"The Iraqi government was elected by the Iraqi people."
And Washington gets upset when foreign governments fail to submit immediately to these terms.
Now you know why US-Russian relations, among others, are spiraling downward.