I am planning to cut down on my blogging in August, the traditional month for Psychoanalytic vacations. My original plan was to eschew blogging completely, both because after two and a half years of blogging five days a week I could use a break to refresh myself, and because August is shaping up to be a very busy time. However, I do plan on posting from time to time, including a number of reviews of books that I have been reading or plan to read in August. (Blogging less = reading more.)
With that preamble I thought I would end July on a hopeful note. By now the idea that we might actually win the war in Iraq has been insinuating itself into the zeitgeist. The left leaning media and the Democratic party are rather far out on a limb that depends on an Iraq defeat, so this should be an entertaining story in the fall when General Petraeus finally reports on our progress. When I wrote about the surge working in my post yesterday, I made the comment that:
Of course, the surge could still fail utterly, and we may yet abandon Iraq to its fate unceremoniously, but at the moment the tide is running against al Qaeda. Iran has some powerful interests in keeping the Shia under control and the Sunnis have an even greater investment in stability (since they would lose any civil war that ensues from an American withdrawal.)
I thought I would elaborate a bit and zoom out to look at the greater Middle Easts and how some recent developments offer grounds for guarded optimism.
The path to disaster is well marked: In brief, radical Persian millennialism trumps their mercantile aspirations, leading to a ramping up of rhetorical and military support for the terrorists in Iraq (Sunni and Shia) and managing to provoke a military response from the United States. Following an American attack, the level of violence in Iraq increases exponentially, Congress forces a draw down and the entire gulf descends into chaos. That is an outcome that some in Iran/Iraq fervently desire, but is unlikely any time soon.
The more optimistic scenario involves a successful surge. As Iraq becomes more stable and the Iraqis more able to maintain security, and the Iranians continue to show evidence of difficulty in building a bomb, the entire region continues the transition, well under way, from a war footing to peace time prosperity.