Iraq-Iran Ties Grow Stronger As Iraq Rises From The Ashes
WASHINGTON -- In the run-up to the war in Iraq, neoconservative hawks in and out of the Bush administration promised that the U.S. invasion would quickly transform that country into a strong ally, a model Arab democracy and a major oil producer that would lower world prices, even while paying for its own reconstruction.
"A new regime in Iraq would serve as a dramatic and inspiring example of freedom for other nations in the region," President George W. Bush told a crowd at the American Enterprise Institute in 2003, a few weeks before he launched the attack.
Ten bloody and grueling years later, Iraq is finally emerging from its ruins and establishing itself as a geopolitical player in the Middle East -- but not the way the neocons envisioned.
Though technically a democracy, Iraq's floundering government has degenerated into a tottering quasi-dictatorship. The costs of the war (more than $800 billion) and reconstruction (more than $50 billion) have been staggeringly high. And while Iraq is finally producing oil at pre-war levels, it is trying its best to drive oil prices as high as possible.
Most disturbing to many American foreign policy experts, however, is Iraq's extremely close relationship with Iran. Today, the country that was formerly Iran's deadliest rival is its strongest ally.
The neo-cons probably thought to replicate another well-known success of war turned into democracy somewhere else on the globe. Full democracy, world-leading economy, close US ally, long-term US military presence. A formidable hedge against US's largest rival. Iraq and Afghanistan hold the same potential for the US, both located in strategic positions in the region encircling or isolating possible US enemies (Iran, Syria, and possibly an extremist Pakistan). In the case of Iraq, it holds the same economic potential as the rest of the oil-rich GCC countries, and it's quite large. However, there's something about the people's culture and the timeframe that made the difference. One country took thirty years to transform itself from a poverty-stricken dictatorship (albeit a very beneficial one), even though its people were exceptionally hardworking (half of them also have no religion, btw. Does that count?). I think it's a lot to expect Iraq to achieve the same in just nine years.
Whatever the US wanted to achieve in Iraq, or in Afghanistan, it will take generations for the result to show itself.
the key to any endeavor is the ability to think straight
Originally Posted by IconOfEvi
Ambassador, no one is saying it can't be done.
In all honesty, this is what the old neocons envisaged. South Korea was the ur example, along with Japan.
The story isn't over yet though, for either AfPak or Iraq, or Japan and the Koreas.
Yeah no one says it. It is something that can be done.
What I'm saying is that we should not expect the intended results of these 'liberation campaigns' to show themselves in such a short term. Libya is another example that removing one dictator simply breeds several more of lesser but still troublesome pseudo-dictator parties in the immediate tomorrow. There should be a nationwide, generational change at social and cultural level to address that. Simply changing the government and implementing a new one seated by virtually the same bunch of people except the figureheads won't work efficiently.
I even find it equally likely that the Iranian population will topple down their own Islamic regime and produce a democracy, possibly sooner than Iraq will become developed and 'democratic'. The people are actually better equipped; they are wealthier, better educated, and more 'westernized' to achieve that. Most average Iranians of today's generation have no reason to hold any misgivings for the West, and this can be turned into a weapon. The well-educated young Iranians quite successfully resist indoctrination and brainwash. But the current demography still lean on the side of the 'oldies' who remember the days of their revolution, and they are the people who hold more power. More time should be given for the people to change, and at the same time we should try not to turn them into enemies by giving them cause to solidify under the Islamic regime by presenting ourselves as the Iranian people's common external foe (in the case of a devastating Iran war).