Monday, November 17, 2008

Political Analysts: Obama's Diplomatic Stance Aids Iraq Withdrawal Plans

The following paragraph stood out for me in a report on the Iraqi cabinet's approving a security pact calling for a U.S. pullout by the end of 2011:

Several political analysts suggested that Iranian opposition to the pact had softened because of the American presidential election victory of Senator Barack Obama. He has suggested a more diplomatic approach to Tehran and has described a withdrawal timetable from Iraq faster even than the one laid out in the security agreement, though recently he has qualified that stance.

“If George Bush’s presidency were going to continue on through 2012, I think people would be a lot more concerned,” said Karim Sadjadpour, a Middle East analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “Having this administration really lightens the blow for the Iranians.”

Apparently Obama's willingness to use diplomacy in foreign affairs is already making an impact even before the president-elect takes office. He has increased the level of trust required to allow the American withdrawal to proceed. 

Had John McCain won the election, that would, in effect, have meant the continuation of George Bush's presidency. McCain's empty rhetoric about "victory" would have kept tensions and mistrust about American intentions high, making withdrawal that much more difficult. And, of course, McCain disdained talk about withdrawal.

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