COMMENTARY | The venerable Charles Krauthammer had an interesting observation about Iraq, which he recently shared with the Daily Caller. He suggests that George W. Bush had won the war but that President Obama has squandered that victory.
Krauthammer’s thesis stems from the fact that Bush’s surge strategy, albeit having occurred after years of a grinding insurgency that had sapped American support for the war, had defeated Al Qaeda and the other terrorists. The Iraqi people had been given a republic, if they were allowed to keep it.
The follow up would have been to initiate a status of forces agreement that would have allowed the United States to continue to have influence in Iraq, training that country’s military, maintaining it as an ally against Iran and the terrorists. Instead President Obama bungled that process and instead presided over a bug out that handed the country to the Iranians. Al Qaeda now thrives in Iraq, using it as a base to essentially take over the popular uprising against Bashir Assad in Syria.
Obama’s mishandling of the aftermath of the Iraq War will likely have as lasting a consequence in the region as Jimmy Carter’s dysfunctional policy in Iran leading up to and after the fall of the Shah. If the Al Qaeda supported rebels manage to overthrow Assad, a new Axis of Evil will form stretching from the Afghan border to the Mediterranean. If Afghanistan falls to the Taliban after Obama’s pullout from that country, that Axis will extend even further, perhaps including Pakistan as well. This group of countries would include at least one and perhaps two that will be armed with nuclear weapons.
While most people have focused on the president’s dysfunctional domestic policies, especially Obamacare, it has been his ineptitude on foreign policy that will have lasting effects, causing death and mayhem overseas and becoming a problem for many administrations to come.