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How to Get Out of Iraq | The Nation

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How to Get Out of Iraq

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Anne-Marie Slaughter

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The United States faces two critical issues in Iraq. First is the necessity of genuinely engaging the international community in stabilizing the security situation, supporting the new Iraqi government after June 30 and rebuilding the country's infrastructure and economy. Crucially, this does not mean simply brokering a face-saving resolution and handing off to the UN, only to blame the UN later when Iraq slides into chaos or worse. On the contrary, it means clearly defining a UN mandate, to be supported by NATO and other regional organizations, and then committing the human and material resources necessary to carry out that mandate. Handing off to the UN without such support is an abdication of responsibility and an admission of failure.

Second is accepting that a genuine democracy in Iraq will bring a genuine majority to power. The way to protect minorities in a democratic Iraq is through federalist provisions and explicit guarantees of minority rights. In principle, even a Shiite theocracy can abide by such guarantees. The United States has proclaimed the principles of democracy and self-determination and must now abide by whatever results are consistent with the protection of basic international human rights.


Dean, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University.

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