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Nearing the End Game in Iraq : Still Missing the Big Picture


(Talk Delivered on November 11, 2005 at the United Service Institute of India, New Delhi).


There is a tendency to look at Iraq simply as an extension of 9/11 and its aftermath, whereas the US establishment had its eyes on Iraq and the Middle East well before that. The Iraq intervention must be situated in the larger global geopolitical and geo-economic matrix ab initio and not post facto.

There is now increasing evidence that 9/11, in some ways, might have been an ‘orchestrated event’ that facilitated the US interventions in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Central Asia and Iraq. What exactly is meant by an orchestrated event? The book Dealing with Global Terrorism: The Way Forward (ISBN 1- 932705 –00 7 Sterling Publishers, New Delhi 2003) mentions that had the 11 September 2001 event taken place just three years later the Pakistan-Al Qaeda-Taliban triumvirate would have been in an unassailable position, i.e., the US intervention would have become a non-starter. Looking back, it would be seen that after the assassination of Ahmed Shah Masood, the unholy combine was all set to capture the remaining ten per cent of Afghanistan still held by the decapitated and shaken Northern Alliance. Radical forces with bases in Afghanistan were very active in the Ferghana Valley. Inroads had been made in Tajikistan, Kyrgyztan and Uzbekistan. Juma Namangani was seemingly unstoppable. In the following years the Taliban-Pak ISI supported elements would either have captured power in one or more of the Central Asian Republics, or would have become an influence to be reckoned with. Additionally, Pakistani nuclear scientists were well on the way to providing Al Qaeda and other Islamic countries with nuclear know how. Therefore, when everything seemed to be going their way it made no sense to prematurely attack the USA on a scale that would invite massive retaliation; for which they were not fully prepared at the time. Hence, unless some rogue elements jumped the gun to put paid to the well laid out strategy for the complete control of Afghanistan and for radical Islam becoming the dominant influence in Central Asia, the only other explanation is that it was an orchestrated exercise to enable early US intervention in the region. Apparently the orchestration did not go according to plan. It went out of control. By way of elaboration attention is invited to other books of the writer as well as to talks delivered from this very forum in 2004-05. (Published in USI Journals of the relevant quarters).

At this late stage it would be pointless to keep harping on the spurious justification for the invasion of Iraq. The whole world is aware of the misinformation that preceded the decision. The ground reality has changed to such an extent that a paradigm shift in the way this imbroglio is looked at is required to find a solution, which could take years, if not decades. Although America seems, on the face of it, to be hopelessly mired in Iraq this paper focuses on some of the more unsettling issues that might not have received requisite attention.

‘Nearing the End Game in Iraq’ is the title of the presentation. It relates to the stage where the US, by its own reckoning, would have brought in a democratically elected Iraqi government after the elections in December, barely a month away. No matter the outcome or how fractured the mandate it would allow for an exit strategy. Regional coordination with some or all of the neighbours would be part of the exercise. It might not be the preferred option of the Anglo-American combine that initiated the invasion. Nevertheless, it offers a way out of the predicament for elements opposed to the Bush policies in Washington, and possibly in the UK as well. To that extent it can be deemed to be a turning point, albeit in a manner of speaking only, because the vivisection of Iraq could lead to permanent regional realignments.

There is another type of End Game playing itself out in Washington, related to the Valerie Plame affair. Although the pressures on the Bush administration are becoming greater by the day, it would be premature to conclude that the Bush-Cheney duopoly have no more arrows left in their quiver. There could still be some nasty surprises in store.


By now it is generally conceded that the war in Iraq went wrong. It brought destruction to Baghdad, Fallujah and other cities of Iraq and killed nearly 100,000 people according to some estimates, about 30,000 as per the official US figures and nearly a quarter of a million according to the estimates of this presenter. So far over 2,000 U.S. troops have been killed and more than ten times that number wounded. This level of destruction has neither brought about the rule of law nor democracy.

Many people around the world are wondering whether the Bush era is nearing its end. A steadily growing number of Americans have started feeling that President Bush's government doesn't work. According to one commentator: “His policies are failing, his approach to leadership is detached and self-indulgent, his way of politics has produced a divided, angry and dysfunctional public square. We dare not go on like this.”
To win wars in foreign countries, where prolonged deployment of military force is necessitated, the difficulty lies in maintaining the support for the intervention at home as well as in the country where it has taken place. In the present case, both the Iraqi and the U.S. populations have become alienated. Something similar could happen in Afghanistan. In the latter case, the negative result would largely have been due to the Iraq fallout. For had the US not taken its eye off the ball and kept its options limited to Afghanistan, it might well have emerged stronger in its global hegemonic drive. The Iraq misadventure has made the summit slope slippery for the USA.


The US over-extension in Iraq has allowed China to make inroads in Latin America that could potentially undermine the American dominance that had prevailed since the enunciation of the Munro Doctrine well over a century ago. Over a period of time it could embolden several other countries in the American hemisphere to buck US hegemony in the manner of the Venezuelan strongman. The decline in US influence as a consequence thereof will increase Chinese leverage. On the face of it China is securing its energy and resources needs. In 2004, nearly half of China's direct investment overseas, almost $20 billion, went to Latin America. To date China has invested US $ 100 billion in Latin American infrastructure. What could China be up to in the Western Hemisphere? At some stage USA, less pre-occupied with its current embroilment in Iraq, is bound to take note – and retaliate.
The Bush administration's unilateralist foreign policy is creating major changes in the world's geostrategic reorientation. Growing ties between Moscow and Beijing in the past 18 months is an important geopolitical event. China's premier, Wen Jiabao, visited Russia in September 2004. In October 2004, President Vladimir Putin visited China. During the October meeting, both China and Russia declared that Sino-Russian relations had reached "unparalleled heights". Moscow and Beijing held joint military exercises in 2005. This marks the first large-scale military exercises between Russia and China since 1958.

Apparently the joint military exercises by activating combat ready forces could be a bold assertion to counter the United States presence in the Caspian region. On July 5, 2005 at the summit of the six-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), held at the Kazakh capital Astana, a joint declaration called on the US-led, anti-terror coalition to set a timetable for withdrawal of troops and the temporary use of infrastructure in Central Asian countries. The declaration pointed out that since the Afghan situation was now under control, the US had no reason to maintain bases in the region. In addition to the facilities in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, the US has military over flight rights with Tajikistan.

The notice came days after US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld returned from a visit to Uzbekistan's neighbors Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Officially, Kyrgyzstan told Rumsfeld that US forces could continue to use Manas air base for as long as the Afghan war required. Observers claim that President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was forced to reconsider because of an attractive offer that he couldn't refuse. Information was leaked to the press of the alleged promise of a $200 million interest-free loan, which happens to be more than 60 percent of Kyrgyzstan's state budget. The loan could be an incentive for the president, who needs the funds to fulfill his numerous election promises


Belatedly, Americans have started concerning themselves with the war in Iraq. It appears that the fatalities had started affecting the voting behavior in the 2004 presidential election, reducing the votes for George W. Bush in the home counties of the soldiers killed. If the U.S. casualties continue to rise in the build up to the 2006 and 2008 elections, they could impose a serious electoral cost upon the Republican Party.

Aware that this could be the case, the Bush administration has suggested that substantial reductions in the 140,000-strong U.S. troop presence would be possible by spring 2006. It is apparently political expediency. Republicans, their minds increasingly focused on November 2006, are a worried lot. Tell tale signs that the ground may be slipping from under the President’s feet include:

A Travis County, Texas grand jury handed down a second criminal indictment against House Majority Leader DeLay, charging him with conspiracy to launder money. He was forced to resign his post.

Washington has become the scene of powerful interventions by top serving and retired military figures, suggesting that it might be necessary to force the White House to order withdrawal from Iraq. Polls showed George W. Bush's Iraq War policy approval rating down to 33 percent.

An increasing number of Republican members of the Congress and the Senate are breaking with the White House on the war policy. In the House of Representatives, the number of Republican co-sponsors of legislation to force Bush to draw up a withdrawal policy is now five, out of a total of 60 co-sponsors.

On October 5, 2005 the US Senate voted 90 to 9 to ban the abuse and torture of detainees.

On Oct. 3, 2005 General Odom wrote an article titled, ``What's Wrong With Cutting and Running?'' ( ``If I were a journalist,'' he wrote, ``I would list all the arguments that you hear against pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq, the horrible things that people say would happen, and then ask: Aren't they happening already? Would a pullout really make things worse? Maybe it would make things better.''

On Sept. 15, at an informal hearing called by Rep. Lynne Woolsey, Gen. Joseph Hoar (USMC-ret.), and former Sen. Max Cleland, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, testified that not only is the situation in Iraq getting worse, but the Army itself is ``broken,'' and the United States is going bankrupt, paying for the no-win war. After the four-hour hearing, in which about 30 members of Congress were present, Hoar, Cleland, and other expert witnesses opined that the Administration could be likened to Hitler in the bunker in the early part of 1945, when World War II was lost for the Nazis, but Hitler dreamed up ever wilder expansions of the war.

On Sept. 28, at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, all hell (supposedly) broke loose, when U.S. Army Gen. George Casey, Commander of the U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq, said that there is only one battalion of ``fully capable'' Iraqi troops. After months of hearing reports from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and speeches by President Bush that there are 150,000 to 170,000 ``trained'' Iraqi security forces, the Senators reportedly went ballistic.

A move to strip the British Prime Minister of his powers to declare war without the prior approval of Parliament gathered momentum with the tabling of a bill in the Commons by Clare Short, a senior Labour MP and former Cabinet Minister who resigned over the Iraq invasion.

The outrage at President Bush’s proposal to nominate Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court was such that she had to withdraw her name.

Pressed by Sen. Ted Kennedy about reports that insurgents are joining up for the Iraq police to get training, equipment, and weapons, Rumsfeld admitted it was true, making the rather lame excuse, ``It's a problem faced by police forces in every major city in our country, that criminals infiltrate and sign up to join the police force.''


In March 2004, China's state-owned oil trading company, Zhuhai Zhenrong Corporation, signed a 25-year deal to import 110 million tons of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Iran. This was followed by a much larger deal between another of China's state-owned oil companies, Sinopec, and Iran, signed in October 2004. This deal allows China to import a further 250 million tons of LNG from Iran's Yadavaran oilfield over a 25-year period. In addition to LNG, the Yadavaran deal provides China with 150,000 barrels per day of crude oil over the same period. The huge deal also enlists substantial Chinese investment in Iranian energy exploration, drilling and production as well as in petrochemical and natural gas infrastructure. Total Chinese investment targeted toward Iran's energy sector could exceed a further $100 billion over 25 years. At the end of 2004, China became Iran's top oil export market. Apart from the oil and natural gas delivery contracts, the massive investment being undertaken by China's state-owned oil companies in Iran's energy sector contravenes the US Iran-Libya Sanctions Act, a law that penalizes foreign companies for investing more than $20 million in either Libya or Iran.
Both Beijing and Moscow have supplied Tehran with advanced missiles and missile technology since the mid-1980s. In addition to anti-ship missiles like the Silkworm, China has sold Iran surface-to-surface cruise missiles and, along with Russia, assisted in the development of Iran's long-range ballistic missiles. Currently Iran is reportedly developing missiles with ranges approaching 3,000 kilometers. China was also believed to be producing several new types of guided anti-ship missiles for Iran in 2004. In the past several years a number of Chinese and Russian companies have faced US sanctions for selling missiles and missile technology to Iran. Rather than slowing or stopping such sales, the pace of missile acquisition and development in Iran has accelerated. The endorsement of Tehran's nuclear energy program by Moscow and Beijing reveals the primary impetus behind the China-Iran-Russia axis - to counter US unilateralism. The crucial support from Beijing and Moscow is an important factor in the bold stand that Tehran appears to be taking.

Simultaneously, covert terrorist operatives are already conducting sabotage in Iran, and an arrangement has apparently been worked out with the Kurds by which Kurdish separatist fighters will be concentrating their operations in Iran, with American financial support. America's new forward bases in Iraq provide a convenient launching platform for an aerial assault. Preparations for invasion seem to be well advanced. Bush's declining popularity and the situation in Iraq could become reasons for undertaking the invasion sooner rather than later, thus shifting attention to other matters.

The statement by Iran's new hard line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that "Israel should be wiped off the map” could be used against Iran for a pre-emptive attack, using the public exhortation as an excuse for the pre-emption. The nuclear stand off, which requires a separate, more detailed analysis is not being dealt with.


The leading Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani had urged Shiites to focus single-mindedly on the US-sponsored electoral process, which brought Shiite parties victory at the beginning of the year and would do so again in December (2005). Now the Ayatollah has changed tack, demanding that the transitional government, which is led by Shiites, “defend the country against mass annihilation.” There have been persistent reports, mostly in Baghdad, of Shiite death squads in police uniforms abducting, torturing and killing Sunni Arab clerics, community leaders and others. The new Iraqi forces seem as likely to provoke a civil war as to prevent one. The 170,000 men trained to date are dominated by Shiites and Kurds, some recruited from militias deeply hostile to Sunnis. The failure to win Sunni support weakens the prospects for bringing stability to Iraq in the near term, laying the groundwork for civil war. The constitution's embrace of federalism seems to destroy any illusions of a strong, centralized government emerging in Baghdad. The U.S. military has admitted that the Iraqi rebellion cannot be defeated by force of arms. The question uppermost in the minds of many people around the world, as someone put it, is whether the US realizes that “it is time to cut its losses and get out before the civil war starts, the violence becomes too great, and the window to withdraw with dignity closes and is replaced by 'fleeing under fire.'"

Pointers that the US might be forced to upstick include:

Col. Tim Collins, a decorated retired British officer, told the Sunday Telegraph (October 2, 2005) that Britain has suffered its most stunning military defeat in memory in southern Iraq, where British troops can no longer operate in the main Shi'ite city of Basra.

Other sources indicate that there is already a full-scale civil war under way in many parts of Iraq, with Kurdish forces conducting ethnic cleansing of Arabs in the Kirkuk area; Shiite forces carrying out revenge killings in the Sunni western provinces; and car bombings claiming more lives than at any point since the U.S. invasion in March 2003.

“The only question remaining is whether the United States can walk out of Iraq, or whether it has to fight its way out.'' - retired Special Forces officer.

U.S. Marines who recently returned from Anbar province in Western Iraq, say that the U.S. is facing a ``widespread, hard-core, nationalist insurgency,'' which should be understood as analogous to the French resistance to the Nazi occupation.

The hatred of the U.S. occupation is also fueled by revenge killings being carried out by Shiite troops accompanying the U.S. forces. These Shiite forces are not under U.S. military ``fire control,'' and have been killing Sunnis in their villages, as revenge for the Sunni massacres of Shiites during the failed, U.S.-backed Shiite uprising under the former President George H.W. Bush. But the report in notes an additional element: The Shiite forces involved in targeting of Sunnis are officially working for, and trained and equipped by the United States, in the name of stability.



Coming to US gains, these can be listed as:

The strongest Arab country has been shattered. Iraq was the only Arab country that had all three parameters of regional greatness, namely, size, natural resources and demography. None of the other Arab countries meet these criteria. Egypt has the size and demography, but hardly any resources. Saudi Arabia has the size and vast energy resources, but not the demographic mass to match.

The dream of a grand Arab coalition of the type that Nasser had envisioned lies shattered. Saddam Hussein had the vision and the drive to attempt it. With his downfall there is nobody on the horizon who could aspire to it;

The strongest country in the Arab world, Iraq, lies prostrated;

Whatever they may profess from time to time about the unity of Iraq, the Anglo-Americans would have succeeded in partitioning it by the time they have finished with it; was it their aim to begin with?

Iraq, the big oil producing country would have been broken up into two separate oil producing zones – one in the north and the other in the south;

The Baath party, which had influence in more than one Arab country, has been critically weakened.

The American military-industrial complex is generally quite pleased at the prolongation of the conflict on the ground, as this increases their production and profits.

It is also excited at being the only set of people in its class who can continue live testing of their latest weapon systems.

Chalking up the losses or setbacks, quite a few of these might not be of enduring value in the long run. For example:

A large portion of the casualties suffered by American soldiers - the rank and file are non-middle class whites, i.e. they do not come from families that are the traditional support base of the US establishment;

A fair amount of the new enrolment is from non-white aspirants, i.e. people coming to America who opt for the fast channel to US citizenship by volunteering for military service. It means that the US administration need not go in for draft, which could cut across its support base.

A good portion of military duties, especially guarding of assets, communication lines etc. is being outsourced to private military groups.

Even the rise in oil prices, while it may hurt the developing world and the average American citizen has brought windfall profits to the oil lobbies that are amongst the forefront of establishment backers.

High oil prices lead to higher payments in dollar denomination, which underpin US budget deficits.

Another way of looking at the success or failure of the Iraq intervention would be to follow the fortunes of the prime initiators of the US intervention policy in Iraq and the Middle East. The world, of course, knows them as neocons. Whatever may be happening on the ground in Iraq the neocons and their backers have not done too badly. A few examples will suffice. Starting at the top George W. Bush won his second term as president of USA despite global condemnation and mounting criticism of his policies at home. Bush managed to get a relatively young Chief Justice nominated to the Supreme Court. By next year he would have succeeded in ensuring a solid majority for the far Right in the US Supreme Court. Based on the nominations made earlier by his father, this was the institution that made him the US president in the first instance. For the foreseeable future the Right wing agenda will prevail in USA. The significance of these nominations for George W. Bush and the interests he represents can hardly be overestimated.

Moving on to the other architects of the US Middle East policy, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, the vice president and the defense secretary, continue to pursue the neocon agenda with unabated vigor. John Negroponte is the new security czar. The oil interests whom Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld represent have never had it so good. Tens of billions of dollars were pocketed through contracts given to Cheney’s old firm Haliburton. Despite the severe criticism that the firm came under, further contracts running into tens of billions of dollars for rebuilding New Orleans will most probably go to Haliburton. The rise in oil prices may have hurt the ordinary American; it has swelled the coffers of the oil majors.

Exxon Mobil recorded an unprecedented bonanza of US $ 25 billion. In fact, the windfall for the neocon backers has been colossal enough to virtually guarantee their dominance over the US - and possibly the global economy - for a long time to come. The profits of these entities have skyrocketed in inverse proportion to the decline in the US economy. Are they inter-related? Is there a grand design behind it? Mr. Wolfowitz, who was one of the strongest administration votaries for the Iraq invasion is now the president of the World Bank. In a subtle manner, the neocon agenda will be pursued through World Bank policies. Even John Bolton, reviled by the US press and Senate, has landed up in the coveted post of head of the US delegation at the UN in New York.

The fact that he was never confirmed did not prevent president Bush from using a stratagem to assign him to the UN. One can go on in this vein to show that appearances and public perceptions can be deceptive. To the world at large the US policies in Iraq have been an abject failure. Perhaps it is too early to be so definitive. Throughout history nations that have aspired to global dominance or even regional hegemony have long-term goals. Temporary setbacks do not necessarily lead to the abandonment of the pursuit for global power. That which much of the world thinks to be US failure in Iraq might not turn out to be so down the line from a ten or twenty-year perspective. Why talk only of USA. Even Tony Blair has walked into his third term as prime minister. Like Bush’s Democrat opponents in USA, the Conservatives in Britain are in disarray.

Moving across the English Channel two of the stalwarts who were the bitterest critics of the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq, Schroeder of Germany and Chirac of France stand humbled - the former has been replaced as the Chancellor by Angela Merkl, a strong Bush supporter. In France, the decline in the health - political as well as physical – of Jacques Chirac is palpable. Going a step further, the Anglo-American combine, against strong European opposition, has been able to push through the commencement of the talks for Turkey’s accession to the European Union. Taking all this into consideration, if these results constitute failure for the neocons, it would be difficult to imagine what success would have brought in its wake.

Difficulties in Iraq and Afghanistan do not seem to have dampened the global hegemonic urge of USA. In the latest development, agreement has been reached with Romania for hosting not one, but several US bases near the Black Sea.

George W. Bush's elite base includes the wealthy and the powerful. They are the hidden people he really represents. The special interest benefactors he described so accurately in a speech at one of his private, campaign fund raising dinners: "You're my base: the haves and the have mores." (Emphasis added)


For the exit strategy to work, it would have to be coordinated through a security agreement with Iraq 's neighbors. The deteriorating situation is not only a threat to Iraq itself, but also to its neighbors, who will face similar sectarian and ethnic struggles if Iraq ends up being divided. Saudi Arabia is deeply concePrned that the sectarian struggle in Iraq would spill into their oil-rich eastern region where there is a majority of Shi’a Muslims living in the Sunni dominated country. This could prompt Saudi Arabia and other Arab states to make certain political moves to intervene in the Iraqi situation. If sectarian identity is to come to the fore in Arab politics, Syria could be the most vulnerable to the convulsions thus unleashed. The small Alawite minority has run the country for more than 40 years in a predominantly Sunni society. A Sunni majority restoration could become unstoppable if the Iraq Sunnis, with their back to the wall turn to Syria. In the Gulf the persecuted Shi’a minorities (majority in Bahrain) could create fresh troubles that the Sheikdoms might not be in a position to handle on their own.

Here it would be pertinent to get some enduring myths out of the way. The first one, which is a make believe really, is that it is possible to create battle-worthy armies overnight. The exercise is on in both Afghanistan and Iraq. In the latter case, although Iraq has 113 paid up battalions only one is considered reliable in a firefight according to knowledgeable sources. It hardly needs recalling that standing national armies mature and develop an esprit de corps over generations. There might have been a few exceptions, but in all those cases the circumstances were entirely different.

The second myth deals with the plea that Saddam Hussein was toppled to open the floodgates of democracy in the Middle East - and hopefully, other Islamic countries. It is a canard even bigger than the supposed existence of WMD. Were the Americans to be taken at their word, literally so to say, should the countries of the region that are presently dictatorships actually transform themselves into democracies, the Americans would probably lose every single one of their trusted allies - Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. The US establishment knows this. Even the Gulf Sheikhdoms would be toppled overnight. The successor regimes would be more hostile to USA than the citizens of the country that America invaded. They would not waste time in joining up with the Iraqi opposition forces bent upon evicting the Anglo-US forces, from the entire region, not only Iraq.

What the situation in Iraq would be were the Americans to leave any time soon is anybody’s guess. There are too many imponderables and, what is more, too many shadowy activities taking place. Nobody could claim to have the full picture. Some definitive elements can however be discerned. Briefly, these could be described as:

Kurdistan is a reality. Should it be able to incorporate the northern oil bearing regions and Kirkuk and should the two historically opposed factions arrive at a modus vivendi, Kurdistan could emerge as a major player in the region.

Turkey and Iran would be dismayed by a strong Kurdistan. Neither country would be able to intervene decisively because the Kurds would be massively backed by Israel and USA.

Israel becomes strengthened by the development.

Iran has established extensive communications, administrative, training, financial and other linkages in Southern Iraq. Its tentacles go all the way to Baghdad. It would soon become the dominant power in the Middle East, making the Arab world uneasy. Consequently the ruling establishments in the Middle East would not be happy to see US forces pull out from the entire region. Nor is the US likely to do so.

At some stage, even if it were to take fifty or a hundred years, the Iranians are likely to become the custodians of Mecca, a grand historical reversal.

The Arab world is not likely to allow the Sunni provinces of Iraq to be taken over by radical elements once the Americans withdraw. The Iraqis themselves would not allow such an absolute take-over.


The situation in Afghanistan is far from satisfactory. The country is heading toward a full-scale revival of everything the US-led intervention had sought to destroy. Islamist forces are regrouping, the opium trade is burgeoning and corrupt warlords rule many regions of the country. A large number of them have made it to parliament in the recent elections. They could pose a big challenge to Hamid Karzai. The US is again missing the Big Picture. Should the Americans pull out from Iraq, the insurgents are not likely to fill the vacuum created thereby. Neither the Iraqis, nor Iran, nor the Arab governments will allow the international radical elements to take over. It is Afghanistan that should be a bigger worry for the Americans and their NATO allies. The Taliban are growing stronger by the day. They have refined their tactics, are better equipped and the supply of ‘talibanised’ manpower from Pakistan is virtually inexhaustible. Pulling out from Iraq would be a setback. A similar debacle in Afghanistan would be a disaster of an order of magnitude – for the Americans, for NATO and the world.


US policies are being increasingly condemned in practically every forum around the world that is not linked in some way to the present US administration. There is hardly any global conference where denunciation of US policies does not take up much of the speaking and discussion time. Such universal opprobrium, which would have made most countries wince, does not seem to have made the slightest difference to the make-up of people at the helm of affairs in Washington. If anything, their resolve seems to have strengthened; the only change has been a change in tactics. The temporary setbacks to US policies in the global arena have neither dampened the enthusiasm of the proponents of unilaterism nor its principal executors. Hence, it would be futile for this discussion as well to end-up as a philippic against the lone superpower, even though it has been pushing the globe toward mutual assured destruction by policies that fly in the face of treaties and protocols arrived at after decades of painful negotiations. For the foreseeable future, possibly for several decades till the mid-point of the new century, the USA is likely to remain the strongest and most influential power on earth. In the same period, i.e., about 50 years from now, tumultuous events in the form of new weapons of mass destruction, diseases, weather modification, global warming and disasters brought about by crashing the species barrier and genetic modifications could propel humankind toward self-extinction. The race is against time and time is not one the side of the human race, unless it changes course within the next few years or at the most the next few decades.

The peoples of the leading nation of the world, USA, have to be made partners in this quest. Solutions that exclude the great hegemon of the 21st century have little chance of meeting with success.

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