Fly Now, Pay Later
The Democrats stand to reap from their withdrawal strategy in Iraq. The bad news is they will reap what they sow. Lee Smith writes in the Weekly Standard that the Democrat withdrawal strategy in Iraq will backfire on their pet policy initiative to use Syria as the keystone to peace in the Middle East.
Is there any real hope of a comprehensive deal with Syria? Of course not. If a stable Iraq and Lebanon were in Damascus's "best interests," then the regime wouldn't have been working so hard to destabilize its two neighbors for the last several years. ...
The one thing Damascus has going for it is that it is the ideal entry point to attack the Bush administration's policies in the region. The cynical and/or obtuse rationale for engaging the regime--that Syria holds the keys to Iraq, Lebanon, the peace process, and bringing Iran to heel--has now been enshrined in the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group report. It is now not only legitimate, it is part of the Democrats' foreign policy, for no sooner had Pelosi returned from Damascus than the Clintons started prepping their 2008 credentials with a shout-out to Syria. ... In Damascus they will find a negotiating partner who has been waiting several years now to sit at the table with the Americans, to look them in the face and talk nice, while they are helping to kill U.S. servicemen in Iraq.
The heart of Lee Smith's argument is that the possible price of gaining control of the nation is that that it will be a diminshed nation. By granting Iran and Syria a geopolitical victory now, a Democrat in the White House will have that much hard a time bringing them to heel later.
The it's possible to maximize private gain at the expense of group interest in certain situations; possible to gain a larger absolute slice of pie even if it means shrinking the total pie, provided you get most of it. Of course, the calculation might be that once in power, and armed with their genius, the losses to the entire pie can be speedily recovered -- a process analogous to going into debt in the belief you will recoup it. Investing in yourself.
That's all well and good if it works out. But the problem is if it doesn't work. Coincidentally enough, Fred Thompson uses the word "investment" in a very strange context, and I'm a little disappointed that he wasn't asked why he chose that very word. What Lee Smith says is it might be a losing proposition.
Amazingly enough, Ted Koppel speaking at NPR agrees that kicking the grenade down the road only means you get to pick it up when the fuse is shorter. Follow the link and click the audio button and this is what Koppel says:
"The Democrats especially their Presidential candidates could be painting themselves into a corner. ... What are they going to do if they win the White House and the bulk of American forces are still in Iraq? ... there is first of all the very real danger that Iraq's civil war will spill over into the rest of the Persian Gulf, interrupting the flow of oil and natural gas. If anything is going to have a disastrous impact on the US economy, that would. ... If the President [Bush] withdraws the bulk or even all of US forces what happens next can be placed directly at his feet."
He then goes on to argue that the Democrats will be faced with same choice. Keep Iraq and validate the Bush policy or withdraw and risk a regional catastrophe. So there you have it, an intelligent man like Koppel knows what's at the stake and the Democrats do too. But the lure of office may blind them to that danger. Fly now, pay later.