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Ending It Right

Colin Kahl on Iraq:

if our *only* goal is to end the civil war and one judged that our actions are, at best, only delaying the inevitable here and have no prospect for creating a stable equilibrium, then maybe we should stand aside, let nature run its course, and let the conflict "burn itself out." But ending the civil war is not our only interest. It matters to our interests very much *how* the civil war is ended. We want to avoid genocide if possible (so allowing the conflict to "burn itself out" is not a good idea -- since the mechanism for this happening could be the slaughter of many tens of thousands of people), we want to degrade al Qaeda in Iraq (so leaving the Sunnis on their own is a bad idea because it re-incentivizes them to make common cause with AQI against the Shia), and we want to maintain some influence in Iraq to limit Iranian gains and prevent a wider regional conflict (which argues for having some presence *inside* Iraq).

h/t Yglesias.

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