The hawkish bits of VP hopeful Marco Rubio's foreign policy speech
Senator Marco Rubio's foreign policy speech yesterday, taken by many as part of a campaign to be Mitt Romney's running mate, points to a politician who favors foreign interventions.
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I covered the Iraq war for about half of the time between 2003-2008 and spent the rest of my time living in Egypt. My personal experiences then, conversations with hundreds of people in the region over the years from senior politicians to shopkeepers, and later experience covering the uprisings in Libya and Egypt last spring, convinced me that the Iraq war, if anything, only slowed the inevitable uprisings against those aging authoritarian regimes.Skip to next paragraph
Dan Murphy is a staff writer for the Monitor's international desk, focused on the Middle East. Murphy, who has reported from Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, and more than a dozen other countries, writes and edits Backchannels. The focus? War and international relations, leaning toward things Middle East.
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The first major Egyptian protest for years, against the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, was in many ways the spark of a protest wave that bred the new generation of political activists who formed the core of the protest movement that toppled Mubarak last year. Across the region, there was revulsion at the invasion, the human costs (at least 200,000 Iraqis died in the ensuing war), and disgust for the sectarian civil war that raged from 2005-2008 in Iraq.
To be sure, President Obama has also professed admiration for Kagan's book, as have many other policy makers on both sides of the aisle. But his pronouncements and recommendations on the Iraq war over the years have been consistently wrong. In 2004, he and Bill Kristol pronounced the new Iraqi Constitution would guarantee the rights of women and minorities in that country (in practice, the position of Christians and women in Iraq have worsened as a consequence of the war), and wrote that "while no sensible person would claim that Iraqis are safely and irrevocably on a course to liberal democracy, the honest and rather remarkable truth is that they have made remarkable strides in that direction."
They went on to complain the "perpetually sour American media focus on the tensions between Shiites and Kurds" but that "the difficult negotiations leading up to the signing, and the continuing debates over the terms of a final constitution, have in fact demonstrated something remarkable in Iraq: a willingness on the part of the diverse ethnic and religious groups to disagree – peacefully – and then to compromise." Even then the country was sliding into pit of sectarian warfare.
Today? The Kurds complain the Constitution has been ignored by the central government and some of their politicians are muttering about independence; the Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi is in exile, hiding from a politically motivated arrest warrant. And Shiite Islamist Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki continues to accrue more power, frightening his ethnic and confessional opponents.
As someone who lived the Iraq war, I find high praise for Kagan's wisdom in foreign affairs troubling.
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