2.26.2007

Kissinger: Use Diplomacy To End Iraq War

It’s one thing to dismiss Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats, the Europeans, or even independent-minded members of their own party such as Senator Chuck Hagel, but can Bush and Cheney ignore Henry Kissinger?

Ever the diplomat, Henry Kissinger, in a letter to the International Herald Tribune titled It’s Time To Start Talking, subtly criticizes the Bush administration’s Iraq War policy while making the case for diplomacy.

Kissinger writes that “[f]rom the beginning…I have supported the decision to overthrow Saddam, but I have also argued that no outcome in the middle of the Arab world could rest on imposition by military force alone. Diplomacy should always have been treated as an integral part of Iraq strategy.”

He complains that it’s in the world’s interest to help stabilize Iraq and the region but that none of the countries impacted by the chaos has asked to “contribute even ideas, much less been enlisted in the quest for a political solution.”

Kissinger’s recommendation: an international conference.

A conference, Kissinger believes, would serve the duel purposes of allowing the U.S. to extract itself militarily from Iraq, while also facilitating bilateral discussions with Iran and Syria regarding the region’s balance of power. His suggestions for membership include the permanent members of the Security Council; Iraq's neighbors; key Islamic countries like India, Pakistan, Indonesia and Malaysia; and major oil consumers like Germany and Japan.

Kissinger—who refers to the world but probably means the U.S.--warns that the world can seize the moment and deploy smart diplomacy to end the Iraq War, or it can continue down the current exhausting and counterproductive path.

It seems to me that Kissinger has done Bush and Cheney a major favor by offering an option to the status quo.