President Bush promised a democracy in Iraq, but if elections are held, they might deliver instead a fundamentalist Islamic theocracy at odds with nearly every strategic aim of the U.S.-led invasion.It doesn't take a genius to realize that democracy is incompatible with any fixed set of US goals, except via luck. The prewar failure to buy off Turkey is one example. What do you do if the people don't want democracy? What do you do if the people don't want freedom as we understand it? Both will be problems in Iraq.
Another thing we can expect is neighboring states trying to influence the state-building process to their advantage. For example, it seems that Turkey is trying to cause problems in northern Iraq:
Even as the U.S. works to stabilize a postwar Iraq, Turkey is setting out to create a footprint of its own in the Kurdish areas of the country. In the days after U.S. forces captured Saddam's powerbase in Tikrit, a dozen Turkish Special Forces troops were dispatched south from Turkey. ... They'd hoped to pass unnoticed. But at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Kirkuk they ran into trouble. "We were waiting for them," ... says U.S. brigade commander Col. Bill Mayville. "Their objective is to create an environment that can be used by Turkey to send a large peacekeeping force into Kirkuk." ... "We suspect their role was to strongarm or discipline the members of the ITF. What they're doing is crystallizing the ITF along the Turkish agenda," says Col. Mayville.My goodness, the Turks interfering in Iraq. Who'd think that a state might try to interfere in the formation of a new neighboring state? Apparently not naive pundit Glenn Reynolds: "Is it just me, or does it seem like nobody in the region actually wants to see a free, prosperous Iraq?" A free and prosperous autonomous Kurdistan? No way. And do Iran's religious rulers want a bunch of free and prosperous Shi'ites living under the law of the infidel? No. Do Syria's rulers have an interest in a neighboring country that will allow American forces to mass there and remove them as they did Saddam? Does Saudi Arabia want a country that will displace it as the key American ally, thereby causing the USA to cut it off, thereby causing the house of Saud to lose power, and those members who can't escape in time be torn apart by mobs? Do the Palestinians want a regime in place that will acquience in their subjugation to Israel?
Do the French and the Russians have an interest in a state that will direct all its oil-service contracts, billions of dollars worth, to American and British companies?
Can we* build a "free, prosperous Iraq" when most states in the region are working against us? Do we think we can build a "free, prosperous Iraq" when most Iraqis are working against us? Do we realize there is any limit to our power whatsoever?
* "we" meaning: "people I am affiliated with, but not including me personally"