UCL News


Comment: The need for an old foe

30 August 2007

No amount of spin or simplification should conceal the magnitude of the Iraq disaster and the damage to America's reputation.

Among the numerous lessons that the US must learn from its Iraq misadventure is that the help of Russia is crucial. …

Giving a more active role to Russia in "managing a phased new settlement", along with a genuine attempt to solve the Palestinian issue, could be the first real steps towards neutralising the American fear of chaos and local strife. For in the region Russia has better links with countries such as Iran than the US does, and acting in concert with the US, it could forestall rash decisions by other neighbouring countries to intervene during the transition. …

No amount of cosmetic enthusiasm should be allowed to disguise the formidable problems that lie ahead. To minimise the chaos that now prevails not only in Iraq but also in Gaza, Lebanon, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and to let us focus squarely on the threat of international terrorism and the restoration of peace to the Middle East, we hope that Washington learns the lesson of true unilateralism - and also realises that the damage caused by its bad planning and likely to follow its retreat will be mitigated only by involving global partners, not least in Russia and Europe. In short, the days when the US decided and its "friends" demurely followed must end.

Sir Basil Markesinis (UCL Laws), 'The Guardian'