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Most discussions of U.S. policy in Iraq assume that it should be informed by the lessons of Vietnam. But the conflict in Iraq today is a communal civil war, not a Maoist "people's war," and so those lessons are not valid. "Iraqization," in particular, is likely to make matters worse, not better.
See also: "What to Do In Iraq: A Roundtable," a debate including Biddle, Larry Diamond, James Dobbins, Chaim Kaufmann, and Leslie H. Gelb.
"What to Do In Iraq: Responses and Discussion," a debate including Biddle, Christopher Hitchens, Fred Kaplan, Marc Lynch, Kevin Drum, and Diamond.
During the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, writes the intelligence community's former senior analyst for the Middle East, the Bush administration disregarded the community's expertise, politicized the intelligence process, and selected unrepresentative raw intelligence to make its public case.
Over 70 years ago, the United Kingdom's occupation of Iraq proved so unpopular at home that London had to declare success and head for the exit. The British pulled out early, and chaos followed in their wake. If Washington hopes for better, it should study this example to learn how -- and how not -- to end an occupation.
For four decades, relations among the major nuclear powers have been shaped by their common vulnerability, a condition known as mutual assured destruction. But with the U.S. arsenal growing rapidly while Russia's decays and China's stays small, the era of MAD is ending -- and the era of U.S. nuclear primacy has begun.
Authoritarian leaders around the world have recently started to crack down on democracy-promotion efforts in their countries. The Bush administration's pro-democracy bombast has not helped matters, but has contributed to the false idea that liberalization is somehow a U.S.-driven phenomenon.
The institutions and policies that were set up after the 1973 Arab oil embargo can no longer meet the needs of energy consumers or producers. The definition of energy security needs to be expanded to cope with the challenges of a globalized world.
Optimists argue that Hamas' participation in mainstream Palestinian politics will spur the group to moderate its radical goals and terrorist tactics. But history shows that political participation co-opts militants only under very specific conditions -- and almost none of those exist in the Palestinian Authority today.
One of the tactics Israel has used in responding to terrorism has been to seek out and kill individual enemies. Now Washington has started doing the same. The United States and Israel face different circumstances, however, and so the Bush administration should think twice before proceeding.
Economists who insist that "offshore outsourcing" is just a routine extension of international trade are overlooking how major a transformation it will likely bring -- and how significant the consequences could be. The governments and societies of the developed world must start preparing, and fast.
Although Japan and China have close economic ties, their diplomatic relations have been strained by clashing interests and cultural friction. The United States has an important role to play in promoting cooperation between Tokyo and Beijing and helping them adjust to a new phase in East Asia's history.
Never popular at home, Taiwan's independence movement has suffered successive electoral defeats and is increasingly irrelevant. The movement's demise and the rise of politicians promising greater cooperation with Beijing have removed the only plausible cause of war between China and the United States.
Prices of crude oil are high these days not because oil reserves are waning -- in fact, they are plentiful -- but because inadequate refining capacity has limited the quantity of crude available on the world market. And high prices come with an upside: they could convince the oil industry to invest in new capacity.
Reviews & Responses
One new book on Saudi Arabia tells how anticommunism and religion have shaped relations with the United States; another describes rumblings inside the kingdom today. Neither says enough about what Washington should do now.