Ivan Eland: Despite George W. Bush’s and Barack Obama’s efforts to topple foreign dictators and use military power to forcefully impose democracy from without, democracy usually works better if it bubbles up from below by popular desire.
Ivan Eland: With the justified firing of Gen. Stanley McChrystal and his replacement with Iraq water-walker David Petraeus, it’s as if people are hoping for a second coming of Jesus in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the replacement may be similar to the second coming of the water-walking Joe Gibbs as coach of the Washington Redskins.
General David Petraeus, the former military commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and author of the military’s most recent counterinsurgency manual, learned the lessons of the successful British counterinsurgency experience in Malaya in the 1950s. He was able to reduce the violence in Iraq by instituting a policy of U.S. military restraint in that country.
The media, egged on by John McCain and his campaign, are going to twist the arm of Barack Obama until he cries “uncle” and admits the U.S. troop “surge” has worked in Iraq. So far, Obama has not cracked under the pressure and, for reasons of political expediency, admitted this dubious proposition. The smart political [...]