When you want the most succinct statement possible statement of the power politics view of the world, VI Lenin is your only man. A lot of free-market advocates of revealed preference theory, and supporters of<a href="exit over voice“> exit over voice, would be surprised to learn who they are quoting when they refer to people voting with their feet.
In relation to the proposed “handover” of power in Iraq on June 30, the only question that really matters is the one posed by Lenin “Kto, kgo ?”, that is, “Who can do what to whom?”.
In particular, will the Iraqi government be able to issue orders to Casey (the new US military commander) or vice versa
. The idea that there can be some sort of harmonious division of responsibilities in which this question does not arise is not worth taking seriously. Just consider the following cases, all arising within the past month, which would certainly have implied conflict between the US forces and any Iraqi government worthy of the name
* The original assault on Fallujah and the subsequent decision to hand the city over to a Sunni militia
* The decision to press charges against Sadr and the subsequent assaults in Najaf and elsewhere
* The raid on the offices of Chalabi, an IGC member
If the “multinational force” has to seek permission from UN-installed Iraqi politicians every time it wants to do something like this, there’s bound to be a lot of angst among the US military. But there’s no alternative. A supposedly sovereign government that countenanced such actions without demanding direct operational control would be discredited in a matter of weeks rather than months.
It’s a positive sign that everyone, including Bush, has now effectively abandoned Clause 59 of the US-imposed interim constitution, which guaranteed the right of US forces to stay in Iraq more or less indefinitely. But I still can’t see the US accepting real Iraqi sovereignty, before or after elections, unless of course the US elections intervene.
fn1. As I argue here, it’s possible to get into a position when the power politics view is the only one that matters, and, when this happens, Lenin is the most reliable guide available. But the history of Russia shows that this is not the position you want to start from, wherever it is that you want to end up.
Update As Robert Corr points out in the comments, Blair has given the right answer to this question. I hope Bush will be forced to do likewise.