Tuesday, April 13, 2004

third world cops
Back during the Korean war, troops from the Chinese PLA chased the US and its allies from the Yalu river halfway down the Korean peninsula. A decade or so later, the Vietnamese mauled the Yanks like wolverines until their government cried ‘uncle’. And now we have Fallujah.

It’s become a regular cycle in foreign affairs. Every now and again, some reluctant third world cops have to slam the Americans up against the wall to show them that they’re not omniscient. I paraphrase, of course.

But the failure of the US to wipe out the Fallujah insurgency or suppress the Sadrists seems to mark some sort of turning point.

For this we can thank the Bushies. Their failure to put enough troops in theatre has meant that we have reached the turnaround point a lot sooner than in either Vietnam or Korea.

There’s an opportunity here. The ceasefire in Fallujah seems to have come about following negotiations between local politicians and whoever’s leading the insurgents in the city. Likewise, Sadr’s people are falling back after negotiations with other Shi’ite groups. There’s no reason why a similar process of negotiation between Iraq’s confessional and other factional groups needs 100,000 US troops and a colonial administration to guarantee it. In fact, it’s the presence – and increasingly the behaviour – of these troops that’s the main cause of the violence. So bring them home.

After all, the Iraqis are perfectly capable of building a democracy, as the pro-war left keep telling anyone with misgivings about the great adventure. It’s time to stop interfering with the process.