The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

Condi’s dream and “the second surge”

May 23, 2007

Is Condi’s dream about to become a reality?

The Guardian has a story today with this headline: “Bush may turn to UN in search for Iraq solution.” It is filled with quotes from “a former senior administration official…who is familiar with administration thinking.” A “senior US diplomat” also chips in anonymously as well.

So, what’s the forthcoming plan — apparently to be outlined this September when the UN meets in NY?

· Expanded UN involvement in overseeing Iraq’s full transition to a “normal” democratic state, including an enhanced role for UN humanitarian agencies, the creation of a UN command, and possibly a Muslim-led peacekeeping force

· Increased involvement in Iraq policymaking of UN security council permanent members, Japan and EU countries – in particular, the new conservative government of French president Nicolas Sarkozy

· A bigger support role for regional countries, notably Sunni Arab Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia, and international institutions such as the World Bank and IMF

· Renewed efforts to promote Iraqi government self-reliance, including attainment of national reconciliation “benchmarks”

· The accelerated removal of US troops from frontline combat duties as the handover to Iraqi security forces, backed by an increased number of US advisers, proceeds.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf recently “proposed the creation of a UN-flagged peacekeeping force for Iraq to be drawn from Muslim nations.”

Would it be bad form to note that Juan Cole fleshed out something like this in July 2004 — and referred to it as “the Kerry plan.”?

In any case, call me skeptical about Bush’s prospects at the UN. The very same Guardian piece details the simultaneous escalation of the counter-insurgency effort in Iraq. Via some manipulation of troops deployments, the US is planning a “second surge” to increase forces in Iraq from 160,000 to 200,000 by the end of the year.

Europeans and Muslim states are unlikely to be enthused about peacekeeping in the context of escalating war.

And, of course, the entire policy is framed cynically as a method for Republicans to avoid electoral disaster in 2008.

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Rodger A. Payne is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Louisville. He serves on the University’s Sustainability Council and was a co-founder of the Peace, Conflict, and Social Justice program. He is the author of dozens of journal articles and book chapters and coauthor, with Nayef Samhat, of Democratizing Global Politics: Discourse Norms, International Regimes, and Political Community (SUNY, 2004). He is currently working on two major projects, one exploring the role of narratives in international politics and the other examining the implications of America First foreign policy.