Symposium

After Iraq

By Kenneth Baer and Andrei Cherny

When it comes to Iraq, Washington is still debating what Americans have already decided: that a withdrawal of troops is needed and is coming. Whether it happens under the watch of George W. Bush or the next president, we can say with near certainty that at some point in the next several months, there will be a significant drawdown of U.S. forces from Iraq. Right now, the political debate is preoccupied with issues of when those troops will be withdrawn, how they will be redeployed, and where they will be sent. But regardless of how these questions are answered, this much is sure: A large number of American troops will be coming home from Iraq.

The question is, what do we do the day after? The United States will
face a Middle East that is profoundly changed. Iraq, once one of the
region’s major powers, is weak and divided. America, for the first
time, has occupied a country at the heart of the Muslim world and odds
are it will leave Iraq short of anything approximating “victory.” The
project to turn Iraq into a shining light of liberal democracy has
failed. Iran, a nation whose enmity to the United States is virtually
unrivaled, has used the removal of Saddam Hussein as an opportunity to
expand its power, prestige, and nuclear weapons program. Across the
region, militias and terrorist groups have mobilized to fight American
troops in Iraq and used the U.S. presence there as a tool for
recruitment and expansion.

With the entire Middle East in flux, we need to look beyond the
current debate and begin to formulate a strategic response to this
critical part of the world. That’s why Democracy has undertaken a first
for this publication: a symposium about a single question. We asked 50
top progressive foreign policy thinkers–academics, former State
Department and National Security Council officials, think tank fellows,
and others–about what America should do after Iraq. Certain themes flow
through their replies: the need to rebuild our alliances and work in
concert with other nations, the importance of restoring American
legitimacy in the eyes of those in the region and around the world, and
the obligation to move aggressively to wean the country off Middle East
oil and gas. To winnow the flood of responses, we chose the ten that we
felt offered a unique point of view on this question: Once there is a
significant drawdown of troops from Iraq, what comes next? What should
American strategy be in the Middle East?

Restore Trust in America's Leadership

By Ivo Daalder and James Lindsay

8 MIN READ

Reinvigorate Nuclear Nonproliferation

By Jessica Tuchman Mathews

7 MIN READ

Pursue a New Freedom Agenda

By Larry Diamond

8 MIN READ

Strengthen Regional Cooperation

By Charles Kupchan

7 MIN READ

No Genocide, No Al Qaeda, No Division of Iraq

By Shawn Brimley Michèle Flournoy

7 MIN READ

Rejoin the Battle of Ideas

By Will Marshall

7 MIN READ

Engage Iran

By Suzanne Maloney and Ray Takeyh

8 MIN READ

Tend to Turkey

By Elizabeth Sherwood-Randal

8 MIN READ

Fight Al Qaeda

By Peter Bergen

9 MIN READ

Promote Liberal Democracy

By David Makovsky

8 MIN READ

Kenneth Baer and Andrei Cherny are the founders of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas.

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