Washington needs to have what diplomats call a frank discussion with Beijing about its irresponsible export of poisonous toothpaste, dog food and toys and its piracy of American-produced software, movies and other goods. And Washington needs to encourage China to become a more constructive international player on issues from global warming to ending genocide in Darfur.
Of course, the main thrust of the editorial was to plead that China not be improperly pressured to revalue its currency. However, one might be tempted to take heart, just a tiny bit, from The New York Times opposing genocide.
One might, that is, until one reads the July 8 editorial calling for an immediate and abrupt pullout of American forces from Iraq.
When Congress returns this week, extricating American troops from the war should be at the top of its agenda.
That conversation must be candid and focused. Americans must be clear that Iraq, and the region around it, could be even bloodier and more chaotic after Americans leave. There could be reprisals against those who worked with American forces, further ethnic cleansing, even genocide. Potentially destabilizing refugee flows could hit Jordan and Syria. Iran and Turkey could be tempted to make power grabs. Perhaps most important, the invasion has created a new stronghold from which terrorist activity could proliferate.
The administration, the Democratic-controlled Congress, the United Nations and America’s allies must try to mitigate those outcomes — and they may fail. But Americans must be equally honest about the fact that keeping troops in Iraq will only make things worse.
Keeping American troops in Iraq is in fact the only hope the world has of preventing the "even bloodier and more chaotic" outcomes that include ethnic cleansing and genocide. Apparently the Times opposes genocide so long as nothing concrete is done to stop genocide, and opposes concrete actions to prevent genocide so long as preventing genocide also prevents chaos in the Middle East from causing the collapse of the capitalist economies of the West.
Why leave Iraq?
Despite President Bush’s repeated claims, Al Qaeda had no significant foothold in Iraq before the invasion, which gave it new base camps, new recruits and new prestige.
This war diverted Pentagon resources from Afghanistan, where the military had a real chance to hunt down Al Qaeda’s leaders. It alienated essential allies in the war against terrorism. It drained the strength and readiness of American troops.
And it created a new front where the United States will have to continue to battle terrorist forces and enlist local allies who reject the idea of an Iraq hijacked by international terrorists. The military will need resources and bases to stanch this self- inflicted wound for the foreseeable future.
Any argument that America should pull its forces out of Iraq and leave that nation to its fate applies ten-fold to Afghanistan. Afghanistan is on the periphery of the Middle East. It is not near to the oil fields of the Persian Gulf. If its people slide back into Salafist repression, it makes no short-term difference to Western interests -- so long as it is isolated, its opium fields burnt, its Taliban preachers prevented from communicating to the outside world.
But, of course, the fate of Afghanistan is of vital long-term strategic importance to the West. Showing that there is a democratic, forward-looking alternative to Islamofascism is important to the West's efforts to combat al-Qaeda's philosophy globally. Developing economic alternatives to opium is vital to collapsing the world's narcotics industry. And keeping US and NATO forces in Afghanistan is vital to keeping the pressure not only on al-Qaeda and the Taliban, but on their allies within Pakistan's tribal regions, Islamic fundamentalist community, military and government. Despite the desperate assertion of the Times' editorialist, US and NATO forces had no chance to hunt down al-Qaeda's top leadership so long as Pakistan refused to fight Taliban influence within its own borders -- a development that has only now come to pass with the Musharraf regime's willingness to take on the Lal Masjid militants.
The US and NATO going to Afghanistan pushed al-Qaeda out of its bases in that country and forced them to find new fronts for their war with the West. Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri have decamped out of Afghanistan and into the Northwest Territories and Tribal Areas of Pakistan, where American and NATO forces cannot follow and from which they can issue directives to existing and would=be al-Qaeda cells worldwide. Had the US-led coalition not entered Iraq to overthrow Saddam's regime, and only focused on the Afghan campaign, the same terror attacks in London, Spain, Glasgow and elsewhere would have happened, and many more -- for Western intelligence agencies would never have come into possession of the operational and tactical intelligence the US has intercepted in Iraq. Saddam would remain in power, continuing plots to defeat Western sanctions on his regime, and having the means (through the vast fraud in the UN Oil-for-Food program, for example) to bankroll al-Qaeda terrorism throughout the globe.
Of course, The New York Times isn't in that cut-and-run crowd -- oh, no, far from it.
The United States could strike an agreement with the Kurds to create those bases in northeastern Iraq. Or, the Pentagon could use its bases in countries like Kuwait and Qatar, and its large naval presence in the Persian Gulf, as staging points.In other words, the USA should choose between having inadequate forces and rules of engagement while keeping its troops in Iraq, or having inadequate forces and rules of engagement while basing its troops in Gulf Arab states that would then become the prime focus of Iranian terror and military intimidation. In the Times' view, the USA should remain involved in Iraq, but only on a level that guarantees that al-Qaeda will never be pushed out of Iraq and that Iran and Syria will always have the means and motivation to terrorize and murder Iraqis on a grand scale.
There are arguments for, and against, both options. Leaving troops in Iraq might make it too easy — and too tempting — to get drawn back into the civil war and confirm suspicions that Washington’s real goal was to secure permanent bases in Iraq. Mounting attacks from other countries could endanger those nations’ governments.
The White House should make this choice after consultation with Congress and the other countries in the region, whose opinions the Bush administration has essentially ignored. The bottom line: the Pentagon needs enough force to stage effective raids and airstrikes against terrorist forces in Iraq, but not enough to resume large-scale combat.
Plainly and simply, the editorial board of The New York Times love genocide, they adore it -- so long as it lets them look good by making disapproving noises and makes the USA and the capitalist West look weak, impotent and heartless. Strong, resolute action to stop genocide, punish its perpetrators and prevent its resumption will always drive it to distraction, for it threatens the charade on which rely their progressive reputation -- and their subscription revenues.