September 25, 2003

Iraq's Coming Around III

I've written about US intentions in Iraq before. In particular, what interests me is the attempt to create a new model for nation building, planting liberty trees. Here's more evidence in the form of a Donald Rumsfeld op-ed that this is what the US is actually trying to do.

While it seems like simple common sense, the idea of holding on to the reigns of power only until locals are able to take over is something that is both hard to do and not done very often. The easy way out is to leave too soon and wash your hands of the mess. The worse temptation is to stay too long and morph from liberator to occupier to imperialist.

There simply aren't a lot of successful hand-overs where local institutions are robust enough to take over and sustain a free society and there is no post liberation bitterness at the occupiers' overlong stay. Whatever the final status of Iraq is, success or failure, we have a new model for dealing with the aftermath of dictatorship. Frankly, it seems to be the best one on offer. No matter where individuals fall on the question of the US and its role in the world, it's a model that needs to be watched closely and made to succeed. It's our best way out.

Note: Thanks to OxBlog for the pointer to the Rumsfeld Op Ed.

Posted by TMLutas at September 25, 2003 12:55 PM