As a new administration takes power in Washington and the promise of "change" is in the air, we have to ask ourselves: when-oh-when is it coming? When will the dam break on the sclerotic foreign policy thinking of the past eight — heck, the past 50 — years?
The first place to begin is, of course, the Middle East, scene of our latest — and worst — transgressions, starting with but hardly limited to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. What is the likelihood of change in this area?
The ongoing occupation of Iraq is a costly operation, in more ways than just financially. It imposes on us the responsibility for maintaining order in a country that is always, seemingly, on the brink of civil war, as well as laying on our buckling shoulders the burden of supporting a government we are increasingly at cross-purposes with. The Bush administration’s attempt to implant a colonial-style Iraqi protectorate is just not sustainable, and Barack Obama came into office largely on the strength of his promise to end this misconceived adventure in "liberation." The problem is that he has no intention of keeping his campaign promise, as the New York Times reported shortly after the election:
"On the campaign trail, Senator Barack Obama offered a pledge that electrified and motivated his liberal base, vowing to ‘end the war’ in Iraq. But as he moves closer to the White House, President-elect Obama is making clearer than ever that tens of thousands of American troops will be left behind in Iraq, even if he can make good on his campaign promise to pull all combat forces out within 16 months."
David Axelrod to the contrary, the idea that Obama is going to get us out of Iraq at all, never mind in 16 months, is going to die a hard death, but die it will — unless, of course, the antiwar movement, so-called, gets up off its fat ass and starts making demands of the candidate so many of them supported.