Monday, September 24, 2012

Obama's Lame Diplomacy

Since the story is being ignored, the New York Times deserves great credit for highlighting it.

Yesterday the Times published a fascinating article by Michael Gordon about how the Obama administration failed in its efforts to negotiate an agreement with Iraq about the continued presence of American troops in the country.

The American public is tired of wars and it is tired of Iraq. And, it is difficult to focus on the complexities of a diplomatic negotiation when the airwaves are filled with shameless demagoguery.

Many citizens do not know enough about negotiation to follow the intricacies and subtleties of the Obama administration’s lame diplomacy.

Such is reality.

If, however, you would like to read an excellent account of how a bunch of rank amateurs botched a diplomatic negotiation, Gordon lays it out in painful detail.

Herewith Gordon summarizes a major foreign policy failure:

Mr. Obama has pointed to the American troop withdrawal last year as proof that he has fulfilled his promise to end the Iraq war. Winding down a conflict, however, entails far more than extracting troops.

In the case of Iraq, the American goal has been to leave a stable and representative government, avoid a power vacuum that neighboring states and terrorists could exploit and maintain sufficient influence so that Iraq would be a partner or, at a minimum, not an opponent in the Middle East.

But the Obama administration has fallen frustratingly short of some of those objectives.

The attempt by Mr. Obama and his senior aides to fashion an extraordinary power-sharing arrangement between Mr. Maliki and Mr. Allawi never materialized. Neither did an agreement that would have kept a small American force in Iraq to train the Iraqi military and patrol the country’s skies. A plan to use American civilians to train the Iraqi police has been severely cut back. The result is an Iraq that is less stable domestically and less reliable internationally than the United States had envisioned.

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