A Switch in Time

A Switch in Time: A New Strategy for America in Iraq

Kenneth M. Pollack
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 123
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    A Switch in Time
    Book Description:

    There is no greater foreign policy challenge for the United States today than the reconstruction of Iraq. The Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings recently assembled a small group of experts to consider U.S. policy toward Iraq in all of its dimensions -military, political, and economic. Saban Center director of research Ken Pollack took the recommendations of the Iraq Policy Working Group and combined them with findings from trips to Iraq and to U.S. Central Command in Tampa to produce A Switch in Time, a comprehensive strategy for stabilizing Iraq in the near term and setting it back on the path toward political and economic advancement. The current U.S. approach is encountering considerable difficulty and appears unlikely to produce a stable Iraq within the next few years, not only because of the military insurgency but also because of government failure in Iraq: the overthrown Saddam regime was not replaced by effective military or political institutions. The alternative proposed by some Bush administration critics, however -a rapid withdrawal -would not serve U.S. interests. While many thoughtful experts have attempted to offer a realistic third course of action, none has so far succeeded. This report proposes such a strategy by detailing the essential need to integrate military, political, and economic policies in Iraq. This concise and straightforward book offers a comprehensive, alternative approach to current U.S. military, political, and economic policies in Iraq. Iraq Policy Working Group: Raad Alkadiri (PFC Energy Consulting), Frederick Barton (Center for Strategic and International Studies), Daniel Byman (Saban Center and Georgetown University), Noah Feldman (New York University), Paul Hughes (United States Army [ret.], United States Institute of Peace), Brian Katulis (Center for American Progress), Andrew Krepinevich Jr. (United States Army [ret.], Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments),Andrew Parasiliti (Barbour, Griffith & Rogers), Kenneth M. Pollack (Saban Center), Irena Sargsyan (Saban Center), and Joseph Siegle (Development Alternatives)

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-7150-0
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-II)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. III-V)
  3. Preface
    (pp. VI-VIII)
    (pp. XI-XVIII)

    The reconstruction of Iraq is not doom ed to fail, but the Bush Administration does not yet have a strategy that is likely to succeed. The progress made so far is an insufficient basis for a durable solution to Iraq’s problems. Many of the positive developments are fragile or superficial, and conceal deeper underlying problems that could easily re-emerge. U.S. policy often focuses on the wrong problems and employs the wrong solutions. The most basic flaw stems from April 2003 when the fall of Saddam Hussein created a security vacuum in Iraq that the United States has never properly filled....

  5. A Switch in Time A New Strategy for America in Iraq Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)

    Iraq hangs in the balance. The elections of December 2005 again demonstrated the desire of Iraqis for prosperity, pluralism, and peace. There should be little doubt that the vast majority of Iraqis want reconstruction to succeed. This is the most powerful of a range of positive factors in Iraq that could be the foundation of a new Iraqi state capable of overcoming sectarian differences and serving as a force for stability in the Middle East. Yet the Iraqi and American peoples are becoming increasingly frustrated at the persistent failings of reconstruction. Both continue to believe in the importance of reconstruction...

  6. I. Security and Military Operations
    (pp. 9-52)

    Security is the most important prerequisite for the reconstruction of Iraq.Although there is no guarantee that reconstruction will succeed with adequate security, it is guaranteed to fail without it.The United States invaded Iraq lacking both the troops and the plans to provide immediate security for the population. As a result, we were unable to prevent looting; we could not reassure the bulk of the population, which favored Saddam’s overthrow but was uncertain about our motives; nor could we overawe those elements of Iraqi society considering armed resistance. This failure created a security vacuum that has never been properly...

  7. II. Building a New Iraqi Political System
    (pp. 53-100)

    Securing Iraq is a necessary condition for success, but it is hardly sufficient. It is not sufficient because the goal of security is merely to make possible Iraq’s political and economic reconstitution. That is the principal project of recon struction. Thus it is vital that the United States help develop a new political system that will have the trust of all Iraqis. this new political system that will have the trust of all Iraqis. This new political system must convince Iraqis that there are effective, non-violent means to address their problems; that they will not have to fear that others...

  8. III. Assisting Iraq’s Economic Development
    (pp. 101-122)

    It is difficult to make many detailed recommendations regarding the economic aspects of reconstruction because Iraq’s economy remains largely held hostage to developments in the security and political arenas. The greatest economic problems in Iraq today derive from the persistent insecurity, widespread corruption, and unsettled political situation that define its landscape. It is hard to envision meaningful progress in re viving or improving Iraq’s economy without commensurate—and in many cases, preceding—improvements in Iraq’s security and political fortunes. To some extent, any progress in the political and security arenas will have an immediate positive impact on the economy, as...

  9. Back Matter
    (pp. 123-125)