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I think its the only viable strategy for the US. The US is lucky it pulled this one out of its *ss. It could have been so much worse. As it is, the US spent $1 trillion to kill 200,000 Iraqi civilians and bring to power a pro-Iranian government in Iraq. Great job, Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Feith & Co.! Next time, just stay at home, OK? You think that money could have been better spent, say... saving Citicorp?|
And of course there is still the very real possibility of it all coming apart once the US leaves. But it must. It just can't afford it anymore. It's an open question whether it will be able to afford another five years in Afganistan, much less do anything different in Iraq. My guess is that within a couple of years the central government in Baghdad starts fighting with the ethnic Kurds. Iran will back the central government. It could get very ugly. The rest of the world may think it will just be another local bloodbath, sad but no material impact on them, but they will be wrong. Oil production from northern Iraq would practically cease. Where it leads from there, is anyone's guess.
The irony is that if that bad outcome occurs, Obama will get the blame. The neocons will shout, "we would have done better!". Oh well, that will be something the Americans will have to deal with domestically. But just imagine what the neocons would do if they get back in power in order to stop the rise of Iranian influence. It's enough to make you want to find out where the nearest bomb shelter is located.
China will NOT intervene regardless. It's not that stupid. AND there are de facto more checks and balances in the use of China's military might than there are in the use of the US'. Our American friends will object to that statement strenuously, but it is true nevertheless. That will prevent any silly "adventures" in the Middle East by China. Leave the silly adventuring to others.