01 August 2004

Grand strategy

In the middle of a long post that you really oughta read, DeLong offers this gorgeous summation.
It seemed to me that it would be madness to proceed with an attack on Iraq without solid, hard, if necessarily secret intelligence of serious and advanced nuclear weapons programs. And it seemed to me that under such conditions there might well be a place for an attack on Iraq as part of an appropriate U.S. grand strategy: a deal with Sharon that we'll take out Saddam Hussein and neutralized the biggest threat to Israel if you'll drastically reduce settler populations on the West Bank; a deal with the Saudis that we'll take out Saddam Hussein if you get serious about having the Wahabis preach peace rather than jihad; a deal with Iran that we'll take out Saddam Hussein if you'll relax tensions; a deal with Egypt and others to provide the Arabic-speaking military police needed to stabilize a postwar Iraq; and a Marshall Plan-scale commitment to rebuilding postwar Iraq to create a more liberal and possibly a democratic regime there.

And, of course, none of this happened. There was no grand strategy at all, no plan to swing the Arab world over to our side in our struggle with Osama bin Laden and company.
The Bush administration has had nearly three years to construct a grand strategy for the war on terror, and has singularly failed to do so. Let's be clear on this: it's not that they have a grand strategy for the war against terror that I disagree with: it's that they have no grand strategy at all.

The first half of this quote is essentially a summation of Pollack's The Threatening Storm, a book which makes a strong case that military action against Iraq was, ultimately, necessary as part of a coherent mideast policy by the US. But the second half is the real point: the adminstration does not have a coherent mideast policy --- indeed, they don't even seem to know they don't have one.

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