Partnership with sub-national actors is essential to promoting sovereignty.
In the 1990s, the United States too readily handed off transition to international partners like the United Nations in Somalia and Haiti or NATO in Bosnia and Kosovo. This created the false perception that the international community can administer territories in lieu of indigenous governance. But Iraq teaches that Iraqis hold the key to Iraqi governance to work through their own security, political, and economic challenges. External actors can only enable or disrupt indigenous efforts and not replace them.
We should certainly take note of the milestone created by U.S. troop reductions in Iraq, but from a practical matter, we cannot overlook that there are still 50,000 U.S. military personnel there. These forces are continuing to enable Iraq to make U.S. forces and assistance redundant, which is the overriding national security goal. While over-used, the slogan “when they stand-up, we stand-down” is starting to hold true. It just took a little longer than expected.
My only quibble is what looks to be a claim that Bush was dishonest in making his case for war with Hussein's Iraq:
While, it is easy to fault the Bush Administration for invading Iraq under false pretenses, the administration should get some credit for attempting to solve the problems it created. Like it or not, Iraq and the United States now have a special relationship that will continue beyond 2011
But, that is a very old and tired argument and I'd rather not open that wound yet again. Like I said, aside from that swipe, the piece is quite good, and fair to Bush.