Getting weaker

Occupying Iraq has made the country weaker around the world. Those who want us to get out, and Democratic candidates, need to keep repeating this until the press starts to treat it as a commonplace.

From the International Institute of Strategic Studies:

… during 2007 the US suffered a loss of international authority as a result of the failure to impose order in Iraq. Leaders and groups around the world sought to take advantage or to protect themselves from the consequences of this loss of prestige. A few countries flexed their muscles regionally more confident in their relative power, while radical groups sought to discredit the leaders of those countries who maintained solid relations with the US. Other countries appeared to hedge their diplomatic relations with the US by strengthening their links with regional powers.

The Iraqi adventure has made us weaker in every way: weaker militarily because all our deployable forces are tied down occupying Iraq, weaker vis-à-vis Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan because we need their help (and in the cases of Russia and Saudi Arabia, because the soaring price of oil due to the absence of Iraqi production has made them rich), weaker in the entire Islamic world by making us highly unpopular.

Democrats need to say this, and keep saying it. It’s not enough to say it once; you have to keep saying it until the press starts to treat it as a commonplace.

The key to restoring our power in the world is getting the Iraqi monkey off our back. That’s the right response to the stupid chest-thumping that passes for foreign policy thinking among the Republican Presidential candidates.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com