Iraq

Foreign Affairs Article

Iraq's Civil War

Author: James D. Fearon

The White House still avoids the label, but by any reasonable historical standard, the Iraqi civil war has begun. The record of past such wars suggests that Washington cannot stop this one -- and that Iraqis will be able to reach a power-sharing deal only after much more fighting, if then. The United States can help bring about a settlement eventually by balancing Iraqi factions from afar, but there is little it can do to avert bloodshed now.

See more in Iraq; Wars and Warfare

Foreign Affairs Article

Heading for the Exit

Author: Stephen D. Biddle

The prognosis for Iraq looks bad and is getting worse. If the trend does not improve soon, the United States may have no choice but to cut its losses and get out. Recently, many have looked to the bipartisan Iraq Study Group to engineer a change in strategy that might arrest this decline, and the ISG's report does indeed contain some useful ideas and worthwhile recommendations. But on the whole, it offers the political groundwork for a complete withdrawal more than it offers a sustainable solution to the conflict.

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Foreign Affairs Article

Blowback Revisited

Authors: Peter Lampert Bergen and Alec Reynolds

The current war in Iraq will generate a ferocious blowback of its own, which -- as a recent classified CIA assessment predicts -- could be longer and more powerful than that from Afghanistan. Foreign volunteers fighting U.S. troops in Iraq today will find new targets around the world after the war ends.

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Foreign Affairs Article

The Iraq Syndrome

Author: John Mueller

Public support for the war in Iraq has followed the same course as it did for the wars in Korea and Vietnam: broad enthusiasm at the outset with erosion of support as casualties mount. The experience of those past wars suggests that there is nothing President Bush can do to reverse this deterioration -- or to stave off an "Iraq syndrome" that could inhibit U.S. foreign policy for decades to come.

See more in History and Theory of International Relations; Iraq

Foreign Affairs Article

Iraq: Learning the Lessons of Vietnam

Author: Melvin R. Laird

During Richard Nixon's first term, when I served as secretary of defense, we withdrew most U.S. forces from Vietnam while building up the South's ability to defend itself. The result was a success -- until Congress snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by cutting off funding for our ally in 1975. Washington should follow a similar strategy now, but this time finish the job properly.

See more in History and Theory of International Relations; Iraq

Foreign Affairs Article

How to Win in Iraq

Author: Andrew F. Krepinevich

Because they lack a coherent strategy, U.S. forces in Iraq have failed to defeat the insurgency or improve security. Winning will require a new approach to counterinsurgency, one that focuses on providing security to Iraqis rather than hunting down insurgents. And it will take at least a decade.

See more in Iraq; Military Operations; Defense Strategy