Bending the Third Rail
Because We Should, We Can, We Do
Thursday, March 01, 2007
Negotiate II
Bill Arkin is addressing the recently announced negotiation between regional powers around Iraq. After laying out the U.S. goals in Iraq, he gets right to the essential point:
The Bush administration, of course, won't get its way, at least not this nirvana. The best we can hope for and dream about is that the Baghdad government and democracy survives at all. Maybe the government, together with the religious and tribal power brokers in the country, will slowly build a sense of nation, one that tacitly if not explicitly relies upon semi-autonomous communities of Sunnis, Shi'a, and Kurds to govern.

Whether the Bush administration gets its way or not, I can think of little reason why Syria and Iran would want to lend their assistance. A chaotic Iraq on their borders is safer than a formal American ally. Besides, the "chaos" that Sen. Biden and others see as the problem is almost completely internal to Iraq's civil war. Sure there is some spillover to its neighbors, but by and large, Syria and Iran aren't suffering because of Iraq internal anarchy. If anything, at least for now, they are benefiting.
Since the U.S. has been bogged down in Iraq, the "axis of evil" have done nothing but benefit and grow in influence. If you have a winning hand, why would you want to compromise?