Iraq is off balance and in urgent need of defeating its enemies, ranging from Iraqi Sunni-Shiite extremists to foreign terrorists. Most people in Iraq and in the Middle East want democracy and prosperity. The United States has been more successful than most great powers in understanding the urgency and necessity of a pro-democracy agenda for remaking the Middle East, since it is only by remaking the region that the United States can defeat terrorism.
The liberation of Iraq was the first necessary step in taking on the reordering of the whole region. But major European countries like France, Germany, and Russia do not understand (or don’t want to understand) that the American project is in Iraq’s and the Middle East’s interest. The gravest mistakes of these countries had been to object the war on Iraq which America rightly waged and freed Iraqi people from one of the bloodiest regimes of the modern era.
Iraq is not sinking into quagmire, but state-building is a complex process and requires international interventions. The question, then, is not whether America can “go it alone” or unilateral action is a bad thing. As the world’s dominance power, the United States can act unilaterally in the interest of democracy and global order and should not be constrained by the principle of multilateralism.
The question is whether America is powerful enough to get the job done in Iraq. Does it have the necessary leverage and influence to create a global order in the most troubled area of the world? European participation in rebuilding Iraq and in bringing democracy to the whole region is indispensable. In many ways, Europe has better track record than the United States when it comes to nation-building.
European critical of American policy on Iraq can no longer afford to adopt the Chinese shopkeeper position: “ you broke it, you own it.” Losing Iraq to thugs and jiihadists would be a disaster for both Europe and America, let alone the region. Europe’s goal must be to help Iraqis builds a democratic and secular state, since Europe own security depends on Iraq’s future. This much is obvious. What is not clear is that how should Europe intervene in Iraq? With whom does Europe seek to partner in Iraq? And what are Europe’s concrete plans of action for Iraq?
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