Americans want a new approach. Withdrawal? A bad idea. Partitioning? Won't work. The right approach is one that addresses U.S. interests in the entire region. (So argues Gen. Clark, senior fellow at the UCLA Burkle Center, in USA Today.)
In an op-ed on U.S. options in Iraq published Nov. 21, 2006, in USA Today, Gen. Wesley Clark (ret.) writes that the "right approach is a coordinated diplomatic, legal, economic and security campaign drawing upon broader dialogue in the region and intensified political work inside Iraq."
Clark rejects both a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops and three-part partition of Iraq as viable options. He advocates the step-by-step cultivation of a potentially permanent Gulf security dialogue involving Syria and Iran, among others, in order to protect U.S. interests specified in the article.
Ultimately, security in the Gulf and winning against al-Qaeda will require that we work with regional powers, promote stability and gradual transformation, and regain "strategic consent" for long-term U.S. assistance in the region. We must use the situation in Iraq to propel us toward this larger goal, and in doing so, we will also find the right way to wind down our deployment there.
Clark, former Supreme Commander of NATO, is a senior fellow at UCLA's Burkle Center for International Relations.
Published: Tuesday, November 21, 2006
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