Commentary Magazine


Contentions

U.S. Troop Increase in Persian Gulf Won’t Make Up for Iraqi Withdrawal

U.S. officials are fooling themselves if they think their plans to bolster the U.S. troop presence in other Persian Gulf countries will make up for the complete withdrawal of our forces from Iraq. Having troops in the smaller Gulf emirates–as we currently do–is certainly a good thing: It helps to deter Iranian aggression and safeguard the world’s supply of oil. (It also can put us in an awkward position when allies like Bahrain commit human rights abuses–but that’s another story.)

In the worst case scenario, it could allow us to reenter Iraq in force. But it’s hard to imagine what that scenario might be. What, short of an Iranian invasion, would lead us to dispatch substantial troop numbers to Iraq? More likely, even if the situation deteriorates in Iraq, we will wind up sitting on the sidelines, because sending troops to a country where they are not currently present is a momentous step that we (rightly) don’t take lightly. That will leave us virtually helpless to stop the machinations of the Iranians and their agents in Iraq, even if they use Iraq to evade international sanctions–as Kim and Fred Kagan and Marissa Cochrane Sullivan warn in this trenchant Weekly Standard article.

The most important function U.S. troops perform anywhere in the world is to spread political stability and American influence. Those objectives are much harder to accomplish from “over the horizon” than they are with “boots on the ground.” We will soon find that out for ourselves in the case of Iraq.

 



Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.