Defeat for Neo-Cons in Iraq: Victory for President Obama?
by Dr. Robert D. Crane
An historical milestone passed almost unnoticed on November 27th, 2008, when Iraqi politicians routed American negotiators in the year-long battle over the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) designed to govern the U.S. geo-political retreat from the Fertile Crescent. The combination of financial and economic implosion in the world, the American election, and finally the Mumbai Massacre in India by Pakistani-associated terrorists has conveniently kept the American collapse in Iraq out of the news. The watershed event of November 27th was detailed on December 11th by Patrick Cockburn in his article, “It’s all Spelled Out in Unpublicized Agreement: Total Defeat for U.S. in Iraq.”
Not so fast. The NeoCons may have been defeated, but the Great Game is not over. It is not time to declare that history has ended, as Francis Fukuyama naively declared when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1990. Elite control of oil in Baghdad continues to threaten economic justice, and political justice is threatened by American-sponsored elites in Baghdad who continue to oppose the popular pluralism born of ancient nations that have never accepted the artificial state created by British imperialists many decades ago as a means to complete the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. U.S. policy-makers have fought such economic and political reforms tooth and nail because American think-tanks have been locked into the entrenched modernization paradigm of mid-century development economics, according to which modernization, divorced from faith-based cooperation, must come from central secular control. The nations in Iraq now must solve their own problems in an economically broad-based confederation designed to reverse everything the Occupation tried to impose.
The geo-political correlation of forces in Southwest Asia now may return to normalcy. Iran now accepts the SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement) as a thumping defeat of America’s colonial past, present, and future in Southwest Asia. But, the Saudi regime and the other autocrats surviving under the American wing will not go down without a fight. Furthermore, the oppressed peoples of the region, including those in the various militaries, may sense an opportunity for regime change more broadly throughout the Middle East. Most significantly, now is the time for a shift in strategy by both the Likudniks in Israel and Hamas in the rest of Palestine to recognize each other formally in international law so that they can work towards a similar economic and political confederation in the Holy Land.
Russia will return to its natural role as a power within the region. Although Putin recently said that a nuclear Iran would pose the single greatest threat to Russia, he nevertheless regards Iran as his greatest ally in liberating the Caucasus and Central and Southwest Asia from Western colonialism. It is almost humorous that U.S. strategists now are rethinking the question whether the Taliban, traditionally an enemy of both Iran and Russia, may be America’s greatest ally in stabilizing the status quo.
Since America is losing its credibility as a “peacemaker” throughout the world, Russia may now be the only power with sufficient leverage to remove Iranian fears of American or Israeli attack sufficiently so that the “hardliners” in Iran will realize that the very possession of nuclear weapons not only would accomplish little as a deterrent but might even be Iran’s greatest vulnerability, as well as inherently un-Islamic.
It may be that President Obama now can get out of Iraq faster than anyone in either Iraq or America has hitherto thought politically possible, because domestic challenges now dwarf the hyped-up challenges envisioned by the so-called war against evil. How can one man be so lucky!