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December 19, 2008

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Dan Kervick

Right now, in the absence of clear statements from a President-elect wisely determined to adhere to the 'one President at a time' rule, anxious Iraqis and Arabs, the American media, and those hoping to pre-emptively shape the new administration's policy are filling the void with a wild range of theories, projections, and suspicions.

It appears to me that, for the reasons you mention, the failure to make such clear statements is not a wise policy at all, but a dangerous deferral and a worrying sign of ambivalence.

Compare: The president-elect makes very clear statements about his economic agenda almost every day, despite the fact that we have only "one president at a time". The precise numerical details will perhaps not be known until he takes office, but we already know quite a bit about the shape of the immediate-term and long-term economic recovery plans, the energy agenda, etc.

The fact that Obama will not make similar clear statements of intention on his Iraq policy is cause for concern. If I were an Iraqi, I would conclude that the reason for the silence is that Obama truly hasn't decided on the direction he is going to go in Iraq. Thus, the many speculative theories.

And surely the decisions Obama made about how to staff his top foreign policy team can't have reassured those in Iraq looking for a strong, decisive break with the Bush Iraq policy. Rather, it appears that what has been set up is a team built for continuity, not a sharp change of direction.

aaron

I would submit that the president elect is not a complete moron and cares strongly about the geopolitical survival of our republic, and will decide "iraq policy" based on facts on the ground, not on whatever he told the emotional throngs to get elected, or on what he percieves the "arab street/press" or the iranian mullahs to "want." God bless him and keep him safe.

aaron

I would also suggest that the outgoing "administration" became basically a military cabal after 9/11, fully prepared to use tactical nukes. Noone likes this, but Osama made it so. Best to play along on national security until they are as gone as possible, lest we find our worst nightmares realized and get even more bush in the pilot seat.

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