By Wumi Akintide
If you agree with the conventional wisdom that life is what happens to you while you are making some other plans, you can clearly see like I do that America has her job cut out for her in Iraq as we speak. I have never been more troubled about the quagmire now developing in the Middle East, and the best America could do is the delicate and fragile road map one of the brightest and resilient American Presidents in recent memory could come up with, because there are no easy answers at all to what is currently going on in Iraq if for any number of reasons the Obama new strategy in Iraq falls to work.
We now have a situation in America where the Congress which has the constitutional responsibility to declare war following consultation by the President is today dodging the bullet but encouraging the President to go it alone because it is even more confused than the President about what to do because none of the congressional leaders on both sides of the isle wants their advice to the President placed on permanent record. It does not get any worse for America if you see what I see. A short term limited engagement is what Obama is offering and it is not at all clear at this point if Maliki and his Iranian backers are on board.
The simple explanation for this stalemate or debacle was what my last article was all about. No nation however powerful or rich has a monopoly of wisdom let alone a magic solution to every world problem America alone as wisely admitted by President Obama in his latest press conference does not have the capacity to assume the role of god Atlas which carry on his shoulder the burden of the whole world. That is the plain truth America must confront going forward. America must stop biting more than she can chew in a very complex world.
I agree with President Obama that the Iraq war was a dumb war that America should never have waged to begin with, and Republicans like Dick Cheney, John McCain and Lindsey Graham to mention a few who want to shift all the blame to President Obama are being clever by half. There are situations where the best America can do is to lead from behind especially in situations where America’s interest and security are not directly threatened. Americans should thank God today that John McCain lost to Obama in 2008. If McCain or Mitt Romney had won the 2008 and the 2012 elections, there is no telling where America would have been today. It is that simple and scary to say the least.
My initial title for this article was changed at the last minute because I figure it out that the title might be too bitter to swallow for some of the fans of this column who sometimes accuse me of being too pro America with some of my analysis, comments or write-ups. Of course, I love, and appreciate America. I will be the first to admit that as I count my blessings in this country but more so for how America has touched the lives of many nations around the world which often describe America not only as “God’s own country” but as the leader of the Free World and rightly so, if you will set sentiments aside. “Is America better off today than it was under Saddam Hussein?” My answer to that question would have been a resounding “No” because I knew a few things about Iraq under Saddam Hussein that would not have allowed me to say “yes.”
President showed a lot of “Chutzpah” yesterday by laying out a ground plan which includes sending a residual force to Iraq short of putting boots on the ground and thereby putting pressure on Nouri Maliki to either see the hand writing on the wall and to beat a retreat or take himself out as Prime Minister and allow somebody else to take over. The bigger problem America fears is what is going to happen to the free flow of oil from that region should Iraq disintegrate into a civil war which will have ramifications for all her neighbors in that region and many of the American allies in the European Union with special emphasis on Great Britain, a traditional ally America has to defend by all means.
Barack Obama has done the best he could do in the scenario he had found himself. We now have a curious situation in Iraq where Maliki is likely to listen more to Iran than taking orders from America because his interest and that of Iran are not fundamentally different right now even though they have been enemies before. We also have a situation as I predicted in my last article where America may now have no other choice than to fight on the same side with Iran for once ever since the fall of Shah Pahlavi. Why? Because not doing so might mean trouble for Jordan, for Turkey and Saudi Arabia which have so far been the traditional allies of America in that region. If the conflagration is not nipped in the bud those countries might have to buckle under pressure. America is getting militarily involved in Iraq again without saying it too loud and may be doing so side by side of course with Iran whose troops are already on the ground in Iraq as we speak. Things have changed dramatically in Iraq from how it was more than 2 years ago when America controlled everything. We now have a situation where America could now be siding with the Shiite to subdue and defeat the Sunnis. The stability in Jordan and Turkey and even in Israel is going to be seriously affected by that development. It is a very delicate and scary situation for America to be in I might add.
Dr. Wumi Akintide is on linkedIn.