Sunday Morning Papers: The End of the Iraq War
Today's papers and talk shows are filled with two things: First, the liberation of Libya, and second, the end of the Iraq War. While conservative media sources are discussing the end of the Iraq War in terms of domestic political calculations, I tend to believe that the end of the Iraq War is completely related to the Arab Spring, of which the Libyan Civil War was a major event.
American foreign policy has always been paternalistic in nature, and if we can't trust your government to do what is in America's best interest, then we shall smack you down - take that, Grenada! Even going back to the Monroe Doctrine, we decided that European Colonies near our shores was not good because it brought European warships nearby, so we decided to back everyone and anyone who would declare independence. It's kind of our thing to do this. So, with the Iraqi occupation, there was always a sense that Iraq may be unduly influenced by Iran, that they'd become some type of Afghan-style theocracy, or just basically descending into a world where foreign dictators influenced internal affairs instead of us.
However, after the Arab Spring, this gives the US hope that maybe the Middle East can self-govern. We don't have to prop up bad governments because we're afraid of worse theocratic dictatorships. The people can take care of themselves. We can step back, show a little support for popular movements, and garner more good will than we could by subsidizing oil production in that state. I don't think it is any coincidence that we announced that we will be leaving Iraq in the same week that Libya declared liberation. We're heroes. They're good. Maybe some funds to hold elections and a promise to buy their oil and repair their economy is all that's needed to create a pro-US democracy. It does not have to be an invasion and occupation. If you are looking for the difference between the Obama and Bush administration when it comes to foreign policy, there it is.