In response to:
Doctor Clam's elegant intellectual take on attitudes to war in Mesopotamia
Who is after an alternate intellectual narrative (from the left)
I have the following link to offer with my recommended comment snipped.
Economist article on Iraq, Iran and US
May 10, 2008 17:13
Where does the economist find such clueless journalist? Look at the problem from the desired end results from the view of the three outside players involved; what is an ideal Iraq in Iranian eyes? What is an ideal Iraq in Sunni Arab eyes? What is an ideal Iraq in U.S. eyes? The Iranian's want a demilitarized Iraq run by Shia's with a friendly Kurdish choir. Their tool to achieve this goal? The ballot box and a little ethnic spring cleaning of recalcitrant Sunnis. Their major problem? Pan-Arabist Shias trying to hijack the show. Sunni Arabs? They want a strong man of Sunni Arab persuasion to restore the good old days of pre-Kuwait Saddam. Their instrument? Money to al-qaeda-lite, political isolation of the Shia Iraqi government and of course foreign Sunni fighters by the truckload. Their major obstacle? History and demographics, neither favors them. The U.S. ? No one, especially no one in the white house has the slightest clue what an ideal endgame would look like.
The point being that it is very much (at least) a three entity game even in its simplest working model. There appears a distinct possibility that each entity is following optimal strategies,there is a Nash equilibrium of sorts, and that the endgame is a generation away. The "oil security" issue will only gradually improve, as the main players realise that security is unlikely to get much better or much worse for a long time yet.