Some Bush-fellaters are devastated that the American people have rejected their hero (and actually claim that another terrorist attack on the US mainland is now more likely. Really.)
Meanwhile, leading Australian academic Scott Burchill provides some historical perspective on the Iraq dilemma facing John Howard:
Prime Minister Howard now argues that a withdrawal of coalition troops from Iraq before “relative stability” is established would be seen by terrorists as a humiliating defeat for the US, who would be emboldened across the world, including in our region.
The problem with this argument – lets call it the “Billy McMahon line” for want of a better term – is that the US and its allies were defeated in Iraq about 2 years ago. What has happened since is humiliating and encouraging for terrorists. Many insurgents want to keep US, UK and Australian troops bogged down in Iraq as long as possible where they can be further humiliated – Muhammad Ali called it “rope a dope.” In addition, the longer they stay in Iraq, the greater the political damage that can be inflicted in Washington, Canberra and London. A withdrawal would take away their raison d’etre.
Howard needs to look at the final months of the McMahon government in 1971-2, when Nixon formalised his policy of ‘Vietnamisation’ – handing the prosecution of the war over to the corrupt and incompetent government in Saigon. McMahon was caught out arguing for an intensification of the war while Nixon and Kissinger were secretly negotiating with Hanoi for a ceasefire and planning their departure. He was humiliated by his erstwhile ally to which he had been faithful, supportive and uncritical. Will history repeat itself? There is no prospect of a coalition victory in Iraq regardless of how loosely it is defined. Bush will now succumb to domestic pressures and may find a Democratic-led Congress strangles the war budget as it did in 1972-3. The replacement of Rumsfeld with Gates means Iran is off the table.
Fidelity may not be sufficient. Can Howard trust Bush to keep him up to speed? If he was still alive, we know what one former Liberal Prime Minister would be saying.
I hope he’s right that Iran “is off the table.” The Iranian press are joyous about the election result, but never under-estimate the ideological fervour of Dick Cheney and Bush. The President allegedly believes that “saving Iran is going to be his legacy.”