Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Monday, November 20, 2006

Victory in Iraq?
As controversial as he is, there are few shrewder readers of international affairs than Henry Kissinger. So when he make prognoses, people sit up and listen. Kissinger's latest comments made over the weekend cover the situation in Iraq and in his view, the thought that traditional victory in Iraq is "no longer possible":
"If you mean by clear military victory an Iraqi government that can be established and whose writ runs across the whole country, that gets the civil war under control and sectarian violence under control in a time period that the political processes of the democracies will support, I don't believe that is possible," he said.

Instead, he recommended an international conference with Iraq's neighbors, the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and countries he said have a "major interest" in the outcome -- such as south Asian nuclear rivals India and Pakistan -- to craft a settlement.

The partition of Iraq on ethnic lines "might be an outcome," he acknowledged, "but it might be better not to organize it that way on a formal basis."

It's difficult not to draw parallels with Vietnam now, with Kissinger indicating a traditional stalemate and a partition of the Iraqi state. This could be a horrible legacy for Bush...