Monday, April 27, 2020

Truest statement of the week

America’s newspapers of record in turn published what now seem to be perfunctory articles about the maybe new Iraqi prime minister that read a lot like so many previous articles about all the other Iraqi prime minister-designates dating back to the invasion of Iraq. Like his predecessors, Kadhimi apparently can balance between the United States and Iran and is a person of integrity who can elicit political support from different factions. But such testimonials, in typical fashion, are followed by caveats about the significant shortcomings of Iraq’s political system that will likely make it difficult for the prime minister-designate to form a government and subsequently govern. The articles generally close with a fingers-crossed quality. It is a formula that journalists in the field and their editors at home seem to have perfected.
The person nominated is always the big story, but the far more consequential issue that these articles and commentaries often merely allude to is Iraq’s political institutions. Even the most casual observers of Iraq know that the country’s problems are significant, complex, and seemingly unresolvable. No one knows how to fix them, despite years of trying, so everyone in Washington who ever cared about Iraq seems now to be advocating for the United States to head for the exits.

-- Steven A. Cook, "Nobody Can Help Iraq Anymore" (FOREIGN POLICY).

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