A Modest Proposal For Iraq: Diplomacy

Jennifer Hoar is a producer for CBSNews.com based in Washington.
(AP / CBS)
Just when you thought the term "diplomacy" had achieved obsolescence, a report from the Center for American Progress proposes new diplomatic initiatives for the U.S. to re-set course in Iraq.

"Strategic Reset," proffers envoys, ambassadors and geopolitical alliances to redress problems where troop surges had once been en vogue. In fact, of the four major highlights of the "Reset" plan, only one is related to military strategy. The operative term there being, of course, "redeployment"; the report says troops should be withdrawn from Iraq by the end of 2008.

"The U.S. needs to reboot its entire strategy," the Center's President and CEO, John Podesta, said in a Monday conference call about the report. Podesta, you may recall, was Chief of Staff to President Clinton from 1998 until 2001. He noted that the recommendations of "Reset" reflect the fundamentally different circumstances" in Iraq now, especially in the way that it has become fragmented. Podesta and his Center colleagues do not go the way of Former Ambassador Peter Galbraith – and others - by suggesting that Iraq be partitioned. Instead, they propose that the U.S. stop arming Iraqi security forces because it only exacerbates in-fighting.

"The medicine of more weapons and training for Iraqis is at this point killing the patient and fueling the conflict between both sides of Iraq's multiple civil wars," Podesta said.

(He's all about making his points with metaphors, huh?)

On the strictly diplomatic end, "Reset" has some ideas that would create some new job opportunities. Hiring (soon): Middle East special envoy, two ambassadors. Responsibilities include, but not limited to: Managing Iraq's "multiple conflicts" and resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict. Put that on your resume and you'd never be accused of not challenging yourself.