NEW HAVEN, Connecticut — America and the world are focused on whether the Bush administration will adopt the Iraq Study Group’s recommendations for an exit strategy from Iraq. That is the most pressing immediate question, but America’s leaders should also be thinking ahead. America needs a post-occupation strategy for Iraq and the Middle East, one grounded in a viable national security strategy for the 21st century. That strategy is containment.
In the runup to the Iraq invasion, the Bush administration rejected containment as an obsolete Cold War hangover. The weapons inspectors were pulled out, and America opted for preemptive war. U.S. President George W. Bush was portrayed as facing down a new Hitler with Churchillian resolve, and advocates of containment were accused of appeasement. But now we know that the containment regime worked. Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was in no position to threaten anyone, let alone the United States.
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