January 28, 2020


In Bullying Iraq, America Is Starting To Look Like The New Evil Empire (TED GALEN CARPENTER, 1/17/20, American Conservative)

U.S. arrogance towards Baghdad seems almost boundless. When Mahdi asked the administration to "prepare a mechanism" for the exit of American forces and commence negotiations towards that transition, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flatly refused. Indeed, the State Department's January 10 statement made it clear that there would be no such discussions: "At this time, any delegation sent to Iraq would be dedicated to discussing how to best recommit to our strategic partnership--not to discuss troop withdrawal, but our right, appropriate force posture in the Middle East."    

Throughout the Cold War, U.S. leaders proudly proclaimed that NATO and other American-led alliances were voluntary associations of free nations. Conversely, the Warsaw Pact alliance of Eastern European countries formed in response to NATO was a blatantly imperial enterprise of puppet regimes under the Kremlin's total domination. Moscow's brutal suppression of even modest political deviations within its satellite empire helped confirm the difference. Soviet tanks rolled into East Germany in 1953, Hungary in 1956, and Czechoslovakia in 1968 to crush reform factions and solidify a Soviet military occupation. Even when the USSR did not resort to such heavy-handed measures, it was clear that the "allies" were on a very short leash.

Although the United States has occasionally exerted pressure on its allies when they've opposed its objectives, it has not attempted to treat democratic partners as servile pawns. That is why the Trump administration's current behavior towards Iraq is so troubling and exhibits such unprecedented levels of crudeness. America is in danger of becoming the geopolitical equivalent of a middle school bully. 

If Washington refuses to withdraw its forces from Iraq, defying the Baghdad government's calls to leave, those troops will no longer be guests or allies. They would constitute a hostile army of occupation, however elaborate the rhetorical facade. 

Posted by at January 28, 2020 5:53 PM