08 July, 2008

Liberals and Withdrawal from Iraq

In today's news, Iraqi national security adviser al-Rubaie says Iraq won't make any security deals that do not include a withdrawal date.

I put this story up here to invite predictions about how this might affect the presidential campaigns. Will this development boost the liberal platform, since the Iraqi government is now calling for what it has been advocating all along? Or, could it take the wind out of the sails of the anti-war campaigns, were this story to be blown over or even resolved before November?

This last question brings up an interesting armchair game: if the current administration began some conciliatory withdrawal gestures, and they went badly, could that negatively affect the Democratic campaign? My guess is that sufficient focus on domestic issues has to some extent safeguarded against this, but it is interesting to contemplate.


spencer said...

This is very interesting. Here are your possibilities plus a few more:

1) Iraqi calls for withdrawal make Obama look prescient.
2) Iraqi calls for withdrawal make Obama looks like he is siding with terrorists, because Americans think all Iraqis are terrorists.
3) Bush withdraws and it goes well. Obama is seen to have good ideas.
4) Bush withdraws and it goes well. Obama loses a campaign issue.
5) Bush withdraws and it goes poorly, everyone blames Obama for having a bad idea.
6) Bush withdraws and it goes poorly, but Obama is able to argue that Bush horribly mismanaged the withdrawal.
7) Bush bombs Iran, world collapses into chaos.

I would put a very low probability on Bush actually withdrawing...maybe 10%. I'd give 60% to (1), 30% to (2). (7) was meant as a joke, but inTrade has the US bombing Iran with probability 33% by the end of the year. Scary.

Elliot said...

I also think number (1) is the most likely, but not only because it makes Obama look prescient, though it does. Also because both Bush and McCain are on the record loud and clear saying that if a sovereign Iraqi government asks us to leave, we will be obliged to leave. So, that leaves them dancing.

I think the probability that we bomb Iran before January 20th is at least 33%, if not greater. As I understand it, there are two factions in the Administration: one represented by Rice and the other by Cheney. Rice is a realist, traditional conservative, while Cheney is an idealist conservative; ie the quintessential neoconservative. Those two tendencies jostle around. The Rice faction seems to have gotten the upper hand in the encouragingly successful North Korean negotiations. However, I think Bush has always leaned towards the Cheneyian militarism, and I think that the ideological rationale for bombing Iran's nuclear facilities may be too great for Bush to resist.

Eremita said...

"Iran said on Wednesday it had test-fired a long-range missile capable of reaching Israel and U.S. troops in the region, a step promptly condemned by the Bush administration as heightening tensions over the country's suspected nuclear weapons program."
-Wash Post