July 28, 2004

More Reckless Unilateralism

In talks with Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, Saudi Arabia today proposed the creation of an Islamic force to help stabilize Iraq and potentially someday replace at least some of the U.S.-led military coalition, according to senior Arab diplomats here...

...Although no countries have signed on, a senior Saudi official suggested that Pakistan, Malaysia, Algeria, Bangladesh and Morocco are among strong possibilities. But no countries on Iraq's borders, including Saudi Arabia or Jordan, which already offered troops, would be included.

--from a Robin Wright piece in the WaPo.

At first, I cringed. The Saudis?

A, er, neighboring country?

But then I read the follow on graf quoted above detailing some of the countries in play. Good picks, all told. Now, as T.S. Eliot used to say, between the idea and the reality...falls the shadow. The "shadow", of course, being whether Islamabad, Kuala Lumpur, Algiers, Dhaka and/or Rabat would really ante up troops for the Iraq effort.

But does anyone seriously believe Kerry's election would change the dynamic re: said countries willingness to do so? Would his much ballyhooed "tougher" stance with the Saudis (likely as fictitious as his earlier rumblings about bringing adult supervision to the Holy Land) do the trick instead?!? No, the Saudis (who would probably be funding a large part of these deployments) would then become more reticent to cooperate, wouldn't they?

And would Kerry's victory mean that Jacques (he of the 800 troops in Afghanistan) and Gerard (approx 2,000) would suddenly send in big batallions to Fallujah too? You know, just for kicks!

Of course not. My point? I've yet to hear (aside from vague talk about "respect" and how strength and wisdom are not opposing values) what the Democratic alternative is on its approach to the war on terror.

Coming soon, how the Democratic platform's foreign policy stances are basically cribbed from presently existing Republican policies in both of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Posted by Gregory Djerejian at July 28, 2004 10:12 PM
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