What is John Kerry’s Plan B?
A key plank — some would say the key plank — of John Kerry’s plan for Iraq is to “internationalize, because others must share the burden.” It’s not like I’m thrilled with the Bush administration’s handling of the war, but I’d like to see Kerry’s response to this Financial Times story: French and German government ...
A key plank -- some would say the key plank -- of John Kerry's plan for Iraq is to "internationalize, because others must share the burden." It's not like I'm thrilled with the Bush administration's handling of the war, but I'd like to see Kerry's response to this Financial Times story:
A key plank — some would say the key plank — of John Kerry’s plan for Iraq is to “internationalize, because others must share the burden.” It’s not like I’m thrilled with the Bush administration’s handling of the war, but I’d like to see Kerry’s response to this Financial Times story:
French and German government officials say they will not significantly increase military assistance in Iraq even if John Kerry, the Democratic presidential challenger, is elected on November 2. Mr Kerry, who has attacked President George W. Bush for failing to broaden the US-led alliance in Iraq, has pledged to improve relations with European allies and increase international military assistance in Iraq. “I cannot imagine that there will be any change in our decision not to send troops, whoever becomes president,” Gert Weisskirchen, member of parliament and foreign policy expert for Germany’s ruling Social Democratic Party, said in an interview. “That said, Mr Kerry seems genuinely committed to multilateralism and as president he would find it easier than Mr Bush to secure the German government’s backing in other matters.” Even though Nato last week overcame members’ long-running reservations about a training mission to Iraq and agreed to set up an academy there for 300 soldiers, neither Paris nor Berlin will participate. Michel Barnier, the French foreign minister, said last week that France, which has tense relations with interim prime minister Iyad Allawi, had no plans to send troops “either now or later”. That view reflects the concerns of many EU and Nato officials, who say the dangers in Iraq and the difficulty of extricating troops already there could make European governments reluctant to send personnel, regardless of the outcome of the US election.
If you read the whole article, it’s clear that the European reluctance is based on the sense that the current security situation in Iraq is deteriorating — in other words, it’s partially the current administration’s fault that Kerry’s plan won’t work. However, that doesn’t change the fact that Kerry’s insistence that he can turn Iraq into a more multilateral endeavor is the foreign policy equivalent of promising that the budget can be balanced through more stringent enforcement of the current tax code — it sounds nice, but it ain’t true.
Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and co-host of the Space the Nation podcast. Twitter: @dandrezner
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