Friday, August 24, 2007

Revisiting Koehl

This item is a few weeks old, but in light of yesterday's release of the National Intelligence Estimate, it is worth reviewing.  

From the Campaign Spot:

Stuart Koehl, of the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins University-SAIS writes in with a good point:

"The error being made- on your part as well as by others - is assuming that progress can only be made at the level of the national government. In fact, under the Iraqi constitution, the national government is rather weak, while traditionally real political power has been wielded on the local and regional level. And it is precisely at the local and regional level that we see real progress being made with regard both to power sharing and national reconciliation. Because of the social and constitutional structure of Iraq, political progress cannot be imposed from the top-down, but must percolate from the bottom up. To some extent, the members of the national assembly and the unity government are merely play-acting, posturing for the cameras until such time as a consensus emerges on the local level that will prompt them to act. The success of our counter-insurgency effort on the political front is not measured in the assembly chamber, but in the tribal councils. And there, we are definitely winning."

Somewhere, a graduate student in Political Science is studying the process of political reconciliation in Iraq. One has to wonder what Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau would think of this.