Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Business Never Personal
A few weeks back, I wrote that the real danger of Gen. Petraeus being promoted to CENTCOM is not so much that his regional strategy might be weighted towards Iraq to the detriment of Afghanistan, although that's certainly a risk. The real problem is that Gen. Petraeus' view of the Iranians is colored by the fact that he's been engaged in a low-level proxy war with them for the past year and a half.
But as this Dr. iRack post over at Abu Muqawama demonstrates, Petraeus isn't alone. Here's the good doctor discussing one possible reason why American policy-makers dismissed Iranian overtures for broad, regional negotiations following the recent fighting in Basra:
In recent weeks, Dr. iRack has been at a number of events with very senior U.S. officials discussing Iran's lethal involvement in Iraq. To a man, these officials have, over the past month, been rocketed by weapons made in Iran (although direct links to the regime remain murky). Dr. iRack is no psychologist, but key U.S. figures on the ground in Baghdad just don't seem to be in the mood to talk to folks with American blood an their hands while they're being shelled.
This, of course, is why it's not a good idea to put people who have been deeply engaged in-theater in broader regional policy positions. Again, the point is not that the Iranians are angels, or that their overture was necessarily credible. The point is that sometimes negotiating with the bad guys gets you a better result than fighting them, and personal animosities have a way of interfering with the judgment necessarily to make that sort of call.