August 3, 2008

Kissinger and McCain on Iraq and the wider War on Terror

"... he (Kissinger) correctly sees America as the “the indispensable component of any attempt to build a new world order."

"... he (McCain) referred to Islamic extremism as “the central threat of our time, and we must understand the implications our decisions on all manner of regional and global challenges could have for our success in defeating it.”...

According to Henry Kissinger, an advisor to McCain, the situation in Iraq has changed that much, the political debate (John McCain vs. Barack Obama) about this topic is practically, superfluous.

“Almost all objective observers agree that major progress has been made on all three fronts of the Iraq war: Al-Qaeda, the Sunni jihadist force recruited largely from outside the country, seems on the run in Iraq; the indigenous Sunni insurrection attempting to restore Sunni predominance has largely died down; and the Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad has, at least temporarily, mastered the Shiite militias that were challenging its authority. After years of disappointment, we face the need to shift gears mentally to consider emerging prospects of success.”

Obama in particular, is using ‘premises that have been overtaken by events,’ and, in light of the Afghan troop increase question, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger says that a withdrawal from Iraq is not necessary to free forces for the Afghanistan battlefield.

“The inherent contradictions of the proposed withdrawal schedule compound the difficulties. Under the fixed withdrawal scheme, combat troops are to be withdrawn, but sufficient forces would remain to protect the U.S. Embassy, fight a resumption of al-Qaeda, and contribute to defense against outside intervention. But such tasks require combat, not support, forces, and the foreseeable controversy about the elusive distinction will distract from the overall diplomatic goal. Nor is withdrawal from Iraq necessary to free forces for operations in Afghanistan. There is no need to risk the effort in Iraq to send two or three additional brigades to Afghanistan; those troops will become available even in the absence of a deadline.”

Indeed the iconic conservative, Kissinger is one who cannot but help solicit the attention of the White House and this need not be viewed as bad. Last year, against a substantial backdrop of opposition opinion, he staunchly defended the Iraqi troop surge where he wrote of Bush’s judgment, a “bold decision to order a 'surge' of some 20,000 American troops for Iraq has brought the debate over the war to a defining stage. There will not be opportunity for another reassessment." He was right!

Critics of the Iraq war fail to realize the conflicts place within the larger struggle, what Kissinger refers to as, “the assault on the international order conducted by radical groups in both Islamic sects," of which America and its way of life is at the heart. Accordingly, he correctly sees America as the “the indispensable component of any attempt to build a new world order."

Read Kissinger’s whole piece at either, The Washington Post or Real Clear Politics site.

John McCain’s other foreign policy advisers include Richard Armitage, William Kristol and Robert Kagan, whom, at least last time I checked, was listed as one the leading advisers. The latter are also firmly grounded within the neoconservative clique however, and before anybody winces, (not that I expect the likes of Salon’s Greenwald nosing around American Interests) I remain convinced that McCain’s take on neo-conservatism is a morally just result of his personal experiences; experiences that have framed a worldly conception of what is good, and led to an unwavering understanding of what is worth defending even with force of arms, if necessary.

Earlier in the year, he referred to Islamic extremism as “the central threat of our time, and we must understand the implications our decisions on all manner of regional and global challenges could have for our success in defeating it.” In the context of this challenge and the wider war on terror, it is not hard to see the likely direction foreign policy will take in a McCain administration.

Back to the featured article, the elder Kissinger sees no rush to finalize, restrict or confine the U.S. to a set course of action that in fact, would bring about more harm, than good.

“The next president has a great opportunity to stabilize Iraq and lay the basis for a decisive turn in the war against jihadist radicalism and for a more peaceful Middle East. Surely, he will want to assess the situation on the ground before setting a strategy for his term. He should not be limited by rigid prescriptions to vindicate maxims of the past, no matter how plausible they once seemed. Withdrawal is a means; the end is a more peaceful and hopeful world.” I believe he is right here too!


The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

Great post as always Otto. Though I beleive Nixon was a victim of his own parinoid personality he did have a large number of scum bags in his administration.

Kissinger was one of the few lights of sanity. A true leader in foreign affairs and on of our finest Secretaries of States.

I beleive that the two difining issues of this campaign if the war and national security and oil. Obama is on the wrong side of both and even the liberal polls show that a vast majority of Americans side heavily with McCain of BOTH issues.

These two issues alone will defeat Obama and possibly diminish if not eliminate the Democrat majority in Congress.

MK said...

Well said otto, it's a helluva an opportunity for the next president, the rewards will be great, however if the wrong decision is taken, the consequences will reverberate across the world for decades.

Incognito said...

And look at the difference between McCain's advisors and Obama's?!

And though many might see it this way.. our presence in Iraq probably has a stabilizing effect there. It's like a plug in a damn.. we are the plug, pull that plug and whooosh..

The Lonely Conservative said...

Of the issues American conservatives find ourselves in disagreement with McCain, for most of us Iraq policy is not one of them. I believe that despite what the polls say, most Americans do not like the taste of defeat and don't want to see premature troop reductions.

Barack Obama just doesn't get it.

Tapline said...

Otto, I do not like the term' New world Order". It sounds to Big Brotherish. Does that make sense???I do not care for Kissinger and never did....Something about his demeanor as being right on all the issues. No one is that good....Great Post as usual,....stay well.....

heidianne jackson said...

henry kissinger is one of my favorite public people ever. he rates right up there with reagan and william f. buckley and well, you get the picture. i read the article at rpc before heading over here - how exciting i got to read your analysis. truly wonderful post, otto, thanks.

Aurora said...

Great article, Otto. To be honest, I'm amazed that Kissinger is still so very active in the public arena. It seems he's been around forever. It's great to hear he's on board with McCain considering the marginalization of McCain and Conservatives in general. A rushed exit from Iraq is nothing but foolishness and just about anyone but Obama would know this.

David Schantz said...

Some folks still compare the war in Iraq with Vietnam. It will only be another Vietnam if we leave without a win/before Iraq is stabilized.

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