Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Ok before I put up my post for the day, here is an update. Changed my blog template because the images of TC, Shrek and Gandalf failed to show. I guess Ranchoweb has deleted the image which Suku made for me. I loved the old template and Suku thanks for being sweet enough to make one for me :-) Now I have switched to a template which doesn't rely on any images. Plain and simple :-) I guess most of you will miss the tagboard but I will see if I can squeeze it in somewhere without spoiling the look. I realise it is particularly useful to leave quick notes and also when comments are not working. Now back to my post for the day.

Three lessons for America

A good read from a polciy paper by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.

Three lessons emerge from past American experience that President Bush should heed. First, given the overall low rate of success in regime change, a similar operation in the Middle East, a tough geopolitical neighborhood far away from American shores, carries greater risks and has less chance of success. Iraq, with 24 million people and a volatile ethnic mix, would be one of the most ambitious US projects.

Second, the overthrow of the old dictator never guarantees a successful regime change. The critical factor is the occupier's capacity to transform weak state institutions, such as the bureaucracy, courts, and military, into effective instruments of governance. Most outsiders fail in this attempt. Even lengthy commitment does not produce desired results.

Third, unilateralism makes things worse, even though multilateral efforts do not necessarily ensure success. Nearly all of the United States' attempted regime changes in Latin America were unilateral, with high costs both to the American image in the region and Washington's ability to sustain domestic political support for the undertakings.

Iraq should be the last place for the US to repeat the same mistakes.

Here is the link to the full article. It talks about America's previous attempts to have a regime change (18 times to be precise) and how successful it has been.


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