Six years ago President Bush launched the invasion of Iraq. Thankfully, we finally have a clear exit strategy that will redeploy all American forces out of Iraq by the end of 2011. Today, the National Security Network is releasing a comprehensive analysis of the legacy of the Iraq war and tomorrow we will be analyzing the changes that Barack Obama and progressives have managed to push through in the last year.
The past few days have seen a series of troubling signals from around the world with Iran launching a new satellite, North Korea issuing new threats, and Russia influencing Kyrgyzstan to close the U.S. military base in Manas – a key supply route into Afghanistan. All of these events raise serious concerns. However, it is important to remember that foreign countries often take advantage of the transition in power to test a new administration and attempt to get to the top of the agenda. Moreover, these incidents are also a reflection of the terrible foreign policy landscape that the Bush administration left behind.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice misread the situation yesterday when she claimed that Iran’s influence in Iraq was in doubt. Following the overthrow of Saddam – Iran’s principal enemy – the Iranian regime was able to develop tremendous influence with the Shia-majority in Iraq. There is now a broad bipartisan consensus among foreign policy experts and senior government officials that it is time for a new approach based on tough direct engagement with Iran.
This week has seen two contrary Iraq-related developments: a troubling spate of violence that has killed more than 50 Iraqis in bombings the last two days, and an attempt by President Bush to blame the intelligence community, members of Congress, world leaders and the previous administration, for the faulty intelligence presented to justify the war.
The Beijing Olympics have put an intense spotlight on China’s remarkable economic and social progress as well as its continuing problems: social and ethnic unrest, pollution, human rights. China is not yet our friend, but it is not our enemy, either. We will have to deal with China as a major economic, political and military power and work together on issues of common concern.