So it appears the military Surge is working. We also need a diplomatic “Surge.” In particular, the U.S. government should intensively pursue the following goals with respect to Iraq.
- an emphasis on victory as a fait accompli. With respect to our primary enemies — supporters of al Qaeda and supporters of al Baath — the only question left is the nature and extent of their obliteration. With respect to our primary clients — al Dawa, the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, the Kurdish Democratic Party, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan — the only question left is the nature and extent of their triumph.
- an emphasis on The 2K Solution. The war leaves us with two stable and friendly allies who enthusiastically wish us to remain and do not require counter-insurgency operations: Kuwait and Kurdistan. The American military presence should be accompanied by an increased American economic presence, focusing on the role of Kurdistan and Kuwait as developmental hubs for the region.
- an emphasis on Iran. Like cancer, the Iraqi Baath Party and the Islamist Qaeda Movement are blight on everyone’s house. Now that the first disease has been cured and the second seemingly quarantined, enemies (Iran) as well as clients (Saudi Arabia) and friends (Israel) all benefit. A favorable regional balance of power can be sustained through military arms and materiel sells at favorable rates. American troops in Iraq are not needed. Similarly, the ruling parties of Iraq are naturally grateful to Iran for years of underground support. Iran’s help should be embraced.
- an emphasis on feedback. The reality of the deed — the overthrow of one of the most prominent Sunni Arab states and its replacement by a Shia Arab regime — is matched by the propaganda of the deed — that partisans of Ali now control the ancient seat of the Caliphate that murdered their Imams. In every way, the greatness of the deed and the thunderousness of the propaganda should be emphasized. To the extent possible, both should be used to destabilize the broader Sunni Arab world.
I was skeptical of the Surge, but if our military progress is matched by an equal effort on the diplomatic effort, it will have been worth it.