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One mistake, however, was all Obama's

Reader comment on item: The Afghan War's Dismal End; Blame Bush Too

Submitted by Malcolm Lowe (Israel), May 30, 2014 at 17:39

Certainly you are right that responsibility for failure in Afghanistan is not Obama's alone. In the case of Iraq, however, Obama turned partial success into failure by not finding the patience to negotiate the substantial remaining American presence that the Iraqi government itself wanted, but on the very reasonable condition that there must be a plausible mechanism for punishing rogue behavior by individual Americans.

Imagine that the negotiations with the Iraqi government, initiated by Bush and abandoned by Obama, had succeeded in keeping a substantial American presence in Iraq. Then the Americans, who were respected as honest mediators. might have dissuaded the current government from picking a new quarrel with the Sunni minority. They might also have dissuaded the Iraqis from allowing Iran to overfly Iraq with supplies for Assad. And so on.

Obama came to power with the express opinion that the war in Iraq was a "bad thing" and the war in Afghanistan was a "good thing." Why? Apparently, because the UN had approved the latter and not the former, which was the weakest of arguments. Never mind that Iraq has oil, while Afghanistan has only poppies, or that Iraq is centuries ahead of Afghanistan culturally, or that Iraq's strategic position is much more important.

So that for which Obama earned the highest approval, his flight from Iraq, was actually his greatest mistake and the beginning of the collapse of respect for the US in the ME. He thought that it was enough to have Egypt, only the latter needed to by upgraded democratically... Now he has neither, though the Iraqi government has intimated on occasion that it still wants to have a closer relationship with the US.

For that matter, the Sisi regime still wants a relationship with the US, Here, however, McCain is an even bigger obstacle than Obama; it is another illustration of your thesis that the current administration is not alone to blame for US foreign policy impotence.

Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Daniel Pipes replies:

You blame Obama for not fixing Bush's error in Iraq. Perhaps you are right but my point is that Bush made the underlying error, something that my fellow Republicans are loath to acknowledge.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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