PDA

View Full Version : et tu, Heinrich?



Nicholas Carey
11-20-2006, 09:39 PM
Looks like the king of realpolitik has read the shift in the political winds...
Victory in Iraq impossible, says Kissinger

By Steve Negus, Iraq Correspondent, and Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Washington
Published: November 20 2006 00:17 | Last updated: November 20 2006 00:17

Henry Kissinger, the former US secretary of state who has advised the Bush administration on the war in Iraq, on Sunday said he no longer believed a military victory was possible in the conflict.

“If you mean by clear military victory an Iraqi government that can be established and whose writ runs across the whole country, that gets the civil war under control and sectarian violence under control . . . I don’t believe that is possible,” Mr Kissinger told BBC television.

His dire assessment of the war, and view that the US should engage Iraq’s neighbours in seeking a diplomatic solution, reinforced calls by Democratic lawmakers in Washington for the White House to speak to Iran and Syria to help stem the tide of violence in Iraq.

[more (http://www.ft.com/cms/s/c2daddb2-7822-11db-be09-0000779e2340.html)]

Osborne Russell
11-20-2006, 10:46 PM
He obviously doesn't know the Soldier of Tomorrrow or the New Army or how badly Iraqi people want freedom.

TomF
11-21-2006, 08:19 AM
To be fair, Kissinger's being consistent with his own published views on how to create a foreign policy. He's among the most celebrated advocates of "realism," of desperately pragmatic self-interest serving foreign policy ...

In his published work on International Relations, he's clear that there's no room for idealism, only strictly pragmatic power politics. Don't go into a war that's not winnable, don't stay in one when it otherwise erodes your relative power vis a vis other states. It's all about maximising relative power, to achieve your own interests.

The view makes me want to take a shower, but he's at least being consistent to his own theory, in making this switch.

JimD
11-21-2006, 08:31 AM
...
The view makes me want to take a shower, but he's at least being consistent to his own theory, in making this switch.

The view makes perfect sense to me.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
11-21-2006, 12:06 PM
When I hear the words "ethical foreign policy" I think better of Goering.

LeeG
11-21-2006, 12:18 PM
Just out of curiosity is the Baker Hamilton group a substitute for the State Dept.?

John of Phoenix
11-21-2006, 01:11 PM
If you mean by clear military victory an Iraqi government that can be established and whose writ runs across the whole country, that gets the civil war under control and sectarian violence under control in a time period that the political processes of the democracies will support, I don't believe that is possible.
Not pick too many nits, but an operating government isn't a "military victory", it's a political victory. Not that it's attainable either way. Here's what follows that quote:


ANDREW MARR: Given that, what would you say to all those people who say well let's bring all the troops home now? What's the downside of a fast and total withdrawal, both by American and by British troops now?

HENRY KISSINGER: Well if we were to withdraw all the forces without any international understanding and without any even partial solution of some of the problems, the civil war in Iraq will take on even more violent forms and the chief dimensions that are probably exceeding those that brought us into Yugoslavia with military forces, all the surrounding countries especially those that have large Shia populations, will be in all likelihood destabilised.

So I think a dramatic collapse of Iraq, whatever we think of how the situation was created, would have disastrous consequences for which we would pay for many years, and which would bring us back in one way or another into the region.

ANDREW MARR: And so that means that one way or another America and her allies in your view have to stay the course?

HENRY KISSINGER: No. I think we have to redefine the course. But I don't believe that the alternative is between military victory as it had been defined previously, or total withdrawal.

The art of leadership now will be to find a course that will protect our values, our interests and the possibility of some progress in the area without simply blindly following a strategy which however reasonable it was when it was adopted, has now brought us to a point...

ANDREW MARR: Has failed.

HENRY KISSINGER: Has failed to achieve the objectives that were defined within a timeframe that our political processes will support.

ANDREW MARR: How much do you think that President Bush, and indeed Tony Blair, have been damaged by what's happened in Iraq?

HENRY KISSINGER: I can't speak for Tony Blair. I think that the Iraq war has certainly damaged President Bush in the last election. He has attempted to define the problem, I think, with great courage. But the situation became more complicated than he originally, than his administration expected, and that has certainly damaged him.

ANDREW MARR: It certainly did - the former US Secretary of State, Dr. Henry Kissinger.

ishmael
11-21-2006, 01:34 PM
"No. I think we have to redefine the course. But I don't believe that the alternative is between military victory as it had been defined previously, or total withdrawal."

Gawd, this guy is still around. I was pissing my shoes over girls when he was first spouting. Unfortunately, I think he's right.

Going in was a mistake. I'm quite convinced of that now. But the consequences of being precipitate in withdrawing are bad.

This isn't Viet Nam, boys and girls.

Nicholas Carey
11-21-2006, 06:07 PM
Going in was a mistake. I'm quite convinced of that now. But the consequences of being precipitate in withdrawing are bad.

This isn't Viet Nam, boys and girls.But they both boiled down to the same problem: once you get hold of the tar baby, it's not so easy to get rid of it.

Meerkat
11-21-2006, 06:14 PM
Henry Kissinger is a self-agrandizing horse's ass.

JimD
11-21-2006, 06:14 PM
ANDREW MARR: How much do you think that President Bush, [has]been damaged by what's happened in Iraq?

Who gives a crap? When W gets his legs blown off we can talk damage.

ishmael
11-21-2006, 06:25 PM
"Who gives a crap?"

It's unfortunate. The entire mess. But now we, the US, must give a crap. If we walk away it will be very wrong, very bad.

Tar baby is a good image. Let's try to do our best. If we just walk away we'll never live it down.

LeeG
11-21-2006, 06:41 PM
Jack, "never live it down" is a collection of words. The US won't hide it's head in shame, unable to get a date for the prom because it left Vietnam or Iraq.

ishmael
11-21-2006, 06:45 PM
You miss the point, Lee.

Leaving Vietnam was not the geopolitical fulcrum that leaving Iraq will be. Vietnam seemed important, but Iraq really is.

Gawd, in retropsect I wish so much we hadn't gone in there. There were ways, good ways, to keep a handle on it. But idealogues were in charge. They are, I fear, going to go down as the ruin of the US. That's too bad, way too bad.

JimD
11-21-2006, 07:39 PM
"Who gives a crap?"

It's unfortunate. The entire mess. But now we, the US, must give a crap. If we walk away it will be very wrong, very bad.

Tar baby is a good image. Let's try to do our best. If we just walk away we'll never live it down.

I was referring to the damage done to Bush personally. Of all the human beings deserving of such consideration that man is well down on my list.