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Our final speaker of the retreat is Josef Joffe. Before I do that shall I close the lid on the computer or you are going to be yes, okay, thanks. Josef Joffe is the Marc and Anita Abramowitz Fellow in International Relations at the Hoover. Joe is also a publisher-editor of the German weekly publication Die Zeit. In addition Joe is consulting professor in Stanford's Political Science department, as well as a research affiliate of the Forum on Contemporary Europe at the at the Freeman Spogli Institute. He is the holder of a PhD in Government from Harvard. Joe's research areas include US foreign policy, international security policy, European- American relations, Europe and Germany, and the Middle East pretty much everything. His most recent book published in June of 2007 is "Uberpower: The Imperial Temptation of America" again, a copy in your bag. So Joe's topic this morning is "Bolting from Baghdad: The strategic consequences of an American withdrawal from Iraq." So join me in welcoming Josef Joffe. As Alan Simpson said, Senator Alan Simpson said about two years ago at one of these retreats, that was the best introduction I had in the last 20 seconds. No, I mean it. You know this is I mean I have spoken a few times in my life. But this is the worst possible slot you can be in, I mean between Steve Krasner and lunch, that's a killer. But Steve and I you know, we go back a long time. We overlapped as graduate students at Harvard, you know I was coming and he was on the way out. And see, now we started at Harvard and where are we now, at Stanford, at Hoover and you know what they call Stanford and Harvard? None n-o-n-e, like Harvard is second to none. This is hey that's a pretty good laugh with pretty old so. I am very proud to be here speaking here in this venue, you know at Hoover when you start out, here they kind of try you out, so they kind of promote you through various stages. At Hoover they promote you say, downward as at were. So I started out at a fancy boat on a ride in River Cruz. Then I could they let me speak at a fancied country club in La Jolla. And now I get to speak in a tent. That's how Hoover promotes people, so I mean I am very proud. Look we got to do this on the ritual, you know. You take off your watch, so the organizers will think oh this guy is going to stick to his time limit. Reasonable people can argue about whether the Iraq war was the right war against the right enemy at the right time. Though I was a supporter of the war, today I would argue that it was the wrong war against the wrong enemy. I think the most dangerous enemy of the US in the last 30 years has always been Iran ever since the Khomeinis' took over and took over the American Embassy there. That's by the way one coincidence to Steve, I am not so sure about whether regime transformation will always solve our problem because was our good friend, the Shah, who more than 30 years ago kind of started to put the first building blocks for nuclear weapons capability into place in Bushire by building three reactors. But that's just a parenthesis. I think that why why do I argue that Iran is the most has always been the most serious enemy? Well for very simple reasons, first of all Iran is supporting terrorism around the world. Iran is building nuclear weapons. And it is Iran that is trying to torpedo whatever peace process we might have in the Middle East. And it's Iran that is trying for hegemony over this most critical, strategic area in the world. So if you want to be more jaundiced about, you might argue that by going after Saddam, the US unwittingly played into Tehran's hands. How so? Well, one by destroying the one army that could act as a barrier to Iranian ambitions. It kind of it opened the way for these ambitions, and I think Ronald Reagan during the First Gulf War had it right. Some of you may remember in the Gulf War, 1988, the Reagan Administration surreptitiously supported Iraq, one bad guy, against the worst guy, Iran, on the sound calculation that Iran was the greater threat. So we destroyed that that weight and balance. The second problem this war raised was that liberate the Shia from Sunni oppression, and so open the way for an ideological alliance between Najaf and Qom's so to speak, between the two centers of ecclesiastical power on either side of the border. And that has further as you know, the rise of Shia power throughout the entire region. And thirdly the US is now embroiled in a war that Tehran can manipulate at will even by killing through surrogates US troops. So the upshot of this is that Ahmadinejad would not reach as brazenly for nuclear weapons, as he is doing right now, if he were not on a roll calculating that the US does not have may not have the stomach for a third war in the greater Middle East you know, in addition to Iraq and Afghanistan. So now reasonable people as I said, can have a reasonable argument about whether this was the right war against the right enemy at the time, but that's not the issue, not the real central issue of my speech, my remarks today. Let us therefore assume for a moment that Iraq let's just assume I am right, that it was a wrong war. Then it still doesn't follow that cutting and running as so many people in the US and in Washington argue, is the right strategy and not certainly not by a long shot. Let me now explain why I think it is wrong and I mean, perhaps a mortally wrong strategy. One argument you hear especially inside the beltway is the kind of nice version of the Vietnam analogy, a nice version comfortable version. And the good news runs like this. Look, nothing nasty happened after that last helicopter took off from the roof of the US Embassy in Saigon in 75'. The dominos did not fall. The Russians and Chinese did not take over. And America and America remained number one in the strategic region of the Western Pacific and indeed of the world, and strangely enough today, Vietnam is one of America's best partners and certainly investment objects in the region. So that's a kind of nice, comfortable version of the Vietnam analogy. Now can you apply that analogy to Iraq? We will cut and run also have such serendipitous consequences. Well, in the cosmic sense America and its friends need not worry, because after all a superpower like US can make deadly mistakes and still live to another day. That's the distinguishing mark of such a power. But if we descend into the real world of grand strategy, then the good Vietnam analogy begins to creak and to crumble. You know why? Huh I found the light. It's going to be a lot smoother from now on. And you can get to lunch sooner. Why can't we apply the analogy? Well, first of all Vietnam was a peripheral area arena of the Cold War. And what the superpowers did then they were acting out of symbolic, stylized contest about will and resolve. Strategic resources like oil and gas were not at stake in the neighborhood. And neither were military bases, though Moscow obtained some access for a while to Da Nang and Camh Ranh Bay. In the global hierarchy of power that's most important thing to remember Vietnam was a pawn, not a pillar, because the real battle lines 35 years ago were still drawn in Europe. Now but the Middle East today by contrast was always what that fable Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan as he put it, "The elephant path of history." Legions of conquerors have marched up and down the Levant, from Alexander's Macedonia to to all the way to India. Other prominent visitors in the neighborhood were Julius Caesar Napoleon and the German Wehrmacht. You think its ancient history? Well, today the greater Middle East Today is a cauldron even Macbeth's three witches would be terrified to touch. This is the pre-modern world that Steve talked about, when religion and politics come together in a deadly flammable mixture. This is where world's worst pathologies combine with oil and gas, terrorism and nuclear ambition. And that makes the Balkans of the late 19th and early 20th century you know, which gave us World War I that makes the Balkans look like a valium and prozac cocktail. So unlike yesterday's Vietnam, the Greater Middle East by the way including Turkey by now, is the central strategic arena of the 21st century, as Europe was in the 20th and the 19th and the 18th and so on. This is where three continents Europe, Asia, and Africa - are joined together. And now let's engage in a thought experiment. What will happen once that last Blackhawk helicopter takes off from Baghdad International, or from the Green-zone? Here is a short list before lunch. First, Iran advances to No. 1, completing its nuclear-arms program undeterred and unhindered. America's cowed Sunni allies you know Saudi-Arabia, Jordan, the oil-rich "Gulfies" are drawn into the Khomeinist orbit. They won't? Converging in a mighty anti-Persian alliance instead? Well, think again. The local players have never, never in the modern history managed to establish a regional balance on their own, a regional balance of power; it was always outsiders. First you know, France and Britain, after them the United States who chastened the malfeasants and blocked anti-Western intruders like Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. Next; with the US gone from Iraq I foresee with great certainty, how emboldened jihadi forces shift to Afghanistan and turn it again into a bastion of Terror International. Another consequence Syria reclaims Lebanon, which it has always labeled as part of "Greater Syria" and from which it was extruded just two years ago. Hezbollah and Hamas, both funded and equipped by Tehran, resume their war against Israel. Russia, extruded from the Middle East some 30 years ago by adroit Kissingerian diplomacy, rebuilds its anti-Western alliances there. In the Iraq the war of each against all escalates, unleashing yet more torrents of refugees and provoking outside intervention, if not partition. And you can get a foretaste of the partition scenario by having read the newspapers in the last couple of weeks. Look at Turkey right now, which is massing or has massed troops on the Iraqi border and threatening to invade the relatively peaceful Kurdish north in an attempt to destroy the PKK, a Kurdish terrorist group. Now we just looked at the region. Now, let's look beyond the region. I think that the Europeans for instance will be the first to revise their romantic notions of multipolarity which is you know world governance by committee, because I think even for them who have not exactly been affectionate of the US in the last six years, even for them, I think worse than an overbearing, in-your-face America is a weakened and demoralized one. Who would who would if the United States takes a bow take care of the world's business? Shall Putin's Russia acquire a controlling stake? This ruthlessly revisionist power wants revenge for its post- Gorbachev humiliation and not responsibility. In fact Putin thinks he is on a roll already, opposing American interests, say starting about a year ago opposing American interests around the world, from missile defense to sanctioning against Iran. What about China with its fabulous riches? Would China take up the slack? The Middle Kingdom is still happily counting its currency surpluses as it pretties up its act for the 2008 Olympics, but watch its next play if the US quits the highest stake game in Iraq. The message from Beijing although they have behaved quite responsibly so far the message from Beijing might well read, "Move over America, the Western Pacific, as you call it, is our lake." Europe? Can Europe take up the slack? You know it's wealthy, it's populous, well-ordered. But a strategic player those 27 member-states which Steve puts into post modern category the strategic player, those 27 are not. They can't pacify the Middle East, they can't stop an Iranian bomb, they can't keep Mr. Putin from wielding gas pipelines as tool of persuasion far more effectively than the Russian with his tact divisions and nuclear weapons. And remember whenever the Europeans, as rich and populous and they are when did join the fray, as in the Balkans in the 90s, the US Air Force had to go in first. So I don't think that multipolar arrangement that so many people are talking about once the US is down and out, will do wonders for the stability of the 21st century. Now what is the upside of this tale? You may argue that the United States in last six years or so since the Iraq war, had spent some of its chips foolishly, but it is still the richest player at the gaming table bar none. You know in the Bush years, the US may have squandered some political capital, but the rest of the world is not exactly making up for the shortfall. Nor has the US become the "dispensable nation." I think that's the most remarkable truth in these trying times. Its enemies from Al Qaeda to Iran, its rivals from Russia to China can disrupt and defy, but they cannot build and lead different kinds of power, negative versus positive power. So for all the damage to Washington's reputation, nothing important can be done without, let alone against, the United States. Can Moscow and Beijing bring peace to Palestine? Can they mend a global financial system battered as it is now, by the subprime crisis? Well, in that case where are the central banks of Russia and China? They are not not on stake. So these to use a well used word in a different context, these inconvenient truths have begun to sink in even among the major democratic contenders. So you listen to to your special darling, Hillary Clinton listen to her, she would leave "residual forces" in Iraq to fight terrorism. Or to Barack Obama, who would stay with an with an as- yet-unspecified force. Even the most leftish of them all, John Edwards, would keep troops around in order to as he said, stop genocide in Iraq or prevent violence from spilling over into the neighborhood. That's a good strategic logic just animating him. And why they are talking this way? Well no wonder, for it might be one of them who will have to deal with the bitter aftermath if the US slinks out of Iraq. So I think they have it right. For withdrawal can't serve American interests on the day after tomorrow. Friends and foes will ask, "If this superpower doesn't care about the world's central and most dangerous stage, what will it care about? America's allies will look for insurance elsewhere. And the others will have this conversation in their mind or among themselves, "If the police won't stay in this most critical of neighborhoods, why not break a few windows, why not start a protection racket, why not just take over?" Mr. Giuliani, are you listening? So the US has to stay, this is my upshot and conclusion the US has to stay in the region with sizable and not just symbolic forces. In Kuwait, in Qatar, in the Gulf waters, and yes in Iraq as well, until that country can take care of itself. Let me therefore in the final part of my pre-lunch prep talk here deal not with the outside, which I have dealt with until now, but with the inside of Iraq. I for one don't buy the so called moral hazard argument, that is now circulating around Washington that says "the longer the United States stays the lazier the Iraqis will be about taking care of their own security." I just don't think that it squares with the facts in the grounds. Let me give you a couple of reasons for this. First of all, even if you don't want to overrate the good news stories that are coming out, the fact is that the Iraqis are increasingly providing for their own security. Here is some interesting tidbit anecdotal evidence as we call it in academia, anecdotal. The so called 1920 Revolution Brigade, the Sunni insurgency group is patrolling the streets of Diyala with the 3rd Infantry Division. And another group, The Sunni Islamic Army in Iraq is telling Al Jazeera that it wants to negotiate with the Americans. So the moral of these anecdotes, or these little tales are, I think that General Petraeus did the right thing with the surge, and with the political flanking maneuver which was to open up to the Sunnis, and that was a very clever may be cynical, but a very intelligent strategic move. I will give you another reason to highlight what's happening in the country itself. Second, the gainsayers on Capitol Hill, when they proclaim the moral hazards argument, have apparently missed out on the fact that Prime Minister Maliki and his colleagues are running an elected government. We tend to forget that this is a freely elected government. I am not pitching this you know, to make a moral point, I am making a very practical point. These guys will have to be re-elected in two years time. And so they have every reason in the world to try their best to liberate their country from this embarrassing dependence on these foreigners. And that reason that self interest militates against the moral hazard argument as well. Final point, the insurgency is basically a Sunni one, with foreign fighters making up a very small fraction. And no wonder, why is it a Sunni thing? Well, this 15 percent minority has oppressed and terrorized and had kept power in the last 50 years by oppressing and tyrannizing the majority, Shia. Now the Sunnis essentially about the insurgencies all about since 2000, late 2003, is that the Sunnis made a big time bet on the insurgency. And I think that insurgency has failed or is failing. And they are beginning to understand it. And why? Well, there is also I think, some intelligent policy being made in Iraq. The US is bringing the Sunnis back into government. They are back in. The government is sharing all revenues with the Sunnis, and they can now after a lot of ethnic cleansing I must add they can now count on a safe place within Iraq's new federalized structure. So if we play our cards right, my point is, my hope is, my bet is, that the insurgency will run out of steam, leaving only Al Qaeda and criminal bands in the ring. Let's so if events are working in Americas and Iraq's favor, why upset the applecart and refuel a war of each against all and kill the dynamic of accommodation? So let's put it this way. Why would anybody be so foolish and bet that withdrawal will make Iraq the first Islamic state in the Middle East that is relatively free and still capable of achieving monopoly on domestic violence and do so now, just because we are saying here you know, as a do so overall, we will split, we will run. Think about how many decades it took to turn Germany and Japan into bastions emblematic bastions of liberal democracy. I wouldn't bet on this cut and run theory as the best way to stabilize Iraq, and this is why I think that US should provide basic security until the Iraqis complete what they are working quite hard to achieve. Can it be done with fewer troops? I certainly hope so. Can it be done with no troops, while Iran, Syria, Turkey, are lying in wait and the rest of the world is watching to see whether this American giant will finally reveal its feet of clay? I would bet against this. I think that the US would rue the day if it leaves Iraq before the job is done. And so by the way well, most of the rest of the world as well because as I said earlier and I will conclude with that because worse than overbearing, in your face America, is a weak and demoralized one. Thank you.