What's the Best - And Worst - That Could Happen If Saddam Stays In Power?

Inspired by this thread.

The ‘war debate’ always seems to revolve around what might happen if the U.S. invades Iraq. But equally important is to discuss what might happen if Saddam is left in power. So let’s hear from the anti-war and pro-war folks - what do you think might happen if Saddam stays in power? I’ll start.

Best Case

Obviously, a palace coup followed by overtures to the west by the new government. Not very likely. The next in line to run Iraq is one of Saddam’s sons, and if anything they are worse. So a spontaneous improvement in the government is not likely, in my opinion.

Barring that, the best-case scenario as I see it is more of the status quo. That means years of multi-billion dollar annual expenses in maintaining a military presence, and a long-term presence in Saudi Arabia, which is one of the things inflaming Islamic terror against the U.S.

The status quo also means a continuation of the sanctions regime, which is very hard on the Iraqi people, and which impoverishes the entire middle east through lower trade.

I don’t consider this very likely. Saddam isn’t just going to sit around, and the sanctions were already unravelling towards the end of the Clinton years.

Worst Case

Saddam develops nuclear weapons, or buys them from North Korea or Iran. With a handful of nukes, he can try to smuggle one into the U.S., load one aboard a remotely-piloted vehicle, and put three or four on SCUD missiles and aim them at Kuwait City, Ankara, and Tel Aviv. Emboldened by what he believes to be a solid deterrant against invasion, He begins building up his conventional military forces in preparation for invasions of Kuwait or even attacks on Israel through the Golan Heights (he even tried to do that in 2000, and was only deterred at the last minute). End result - nuclear war between Israel and Iraq, and possibly a nuclear attack against U.S. assets either in the middle east or at home. Millions die. Destruction of oil fields and enironmental damage cost trillions, and the world economy is plunged into a depression.

More Likely Negative Scenario

Saddam continues to fund terror, and increasingly strong ties between Iraq and various terror organizations mean that terror attacks throughout the world get deadlier. Ricin and Vx in particular start showing up all over the place. Radioactive material in the hands of terrorists results in ‘dirty’ bomb attacks that cost billions in cleanup, and take thousands of lives. After three or four years of increasing aggression by Saddam, the U.S. is forced to attack him anyway. Only this time, he’s had more time to build up his military and weapons of mass destruction, and the war becomes much more expensive in both money and lives on both sides.

I assume you mean that we do not threaten war with Iraq. If we do not threaten war, then I don’t see a coup or Saddam fleeing. It’ll be much like N.K. Son follows father.

So best case is we keep Iraq pretty much as it is now. Imagine Cuba, but with most of the world in on the sanctions. Gradually, we let more “food for oil” type trade and there develops a kind of stagnent poverty level that the world will tolerate.

Worst case, I see is that he funds some kind of terror against the US or Israel. I’d guess Israel simply because it is an easier target. I believe we will pretty much keep Iraq contained from launching any serious outright attack against a neighbor. If Iraq lurches in that direction, the full force of the US military would be on that country like nothing the world has ever seen.

Since we’re talking hypotheticals here, the best case is that Saddam reveals and destroys his WMD’s, renounces terrorism, calls for democratic elections and stops brutalizing his subjects. Probably won’t happen, but it is better than the status quo that you foresee as the only positive outcome.

I agree with your worst case scenarios, thought they are no more likely than my best case prediction.

Most likely? Status quo. Iraq becomes another Cuba, a continuing thorn in the side of the US.

Well, at least someone else is willing to weigh in here.

Frankly, I expected stony silence from the anti-war crowd. None of them seem to want to debate the results of leaving Saddam in place.


I’m surprised, too. I thought the thread was a good idea.

Saddam halts all trucks and vans in the country for months while the country is inspected. The U.N. sends in ten thousand inspectors, who search every square inch of the country. A few months later, they reveal that there never were any WMD; the flaws in Iraq’s documents are simply due to incompetent bookkeeping.

I meant realistic scenarios. Not fantasies.

I’m not too sure about passing on control to the sons, simply because there are two of them. Maybe one will simply kill the other, but it might get a lot bloodier than that.

Best case scenario:
At some point Saddam stops dodging bullets and is removed through a coup. The new leadership is pragmatic realizes that they have nothing to gain by having sanctions maintained and does what it must to get a clean chit from the UN. Iraq prospers after sanctions are lifted and gradually becomes democratic.

Likely scenario:
Saddam becomes the Gadaffi of the Gulf; he remains in power but essentially harmless. Containment and inspections are enough to prevent him from going nuclear and from re-building his conventional military in any serious way. He has chemical and biological weapons but they are of no more use than they were during the first Gulf war. Eventually the regime withers away.

Worst-case scenario (highly unlikely IMO):
Saddam against the odds and against recent history manages to build a few atom bombs and rebuild his military. In response the US has to seriously beef up its military presence in the region and maybe explicitly threaten nuclear retaliation. It also threatens that if it is ever attacked by a large-scale chemical and biological weapons it will not wait for evidence to remove any regime it considers a potential source and that Iraq is on top of that list. Though there are some tense moments containment works and Saddam doesn’t commit suicide by launching attacks against the US or Israel who have massive coventional and nuclear superiority.

Oh I noticed this:
“or buys them from North Korea or Iran”
This just shows your general cluelessness about world politics. Iran selling nuclear weapons to Iraq??? It’s about as likely a source as Israel. One of the reasons that Iran seeks nuclear weapons is to deter Iraq.

North Korea is a better candidate but that depends on it developing sufficient numbers of nukes to decide to sell some which happens only if the Bush policy in North Korea is a complete disaster.

Best case - Inspectors find nothing, sanctions continue and Iraq settles into a Cuba-like isolation. Knowing that a conclusive link between him and any terrorist activity outside the Middle East would be enough to sway the opinion of the UNSC to support an all-out invasion and overthrow, Saddam decides to cool it and play in his own sandbox, all the while making Castro-esque speeches about standing up to western imperialism and corruption. UN inspectors make regular sweeps for WMD, but continue to find nothing. Eventually (15-20+ years, how old is Hussein, anyhow?), ether he or his successor decides enough is enough and begins making overtures to the UN, eventually opening up.

Worst(?) case - As above, but as Hussein gets older or more desperate, he grows increasingly irrational, decides that destruction is preferable to isolation or capitulation (or convinces himself that victory is possible), and starts up trouble again. His military isn’t in such hot shape anymore, so a traditional invasion of his neighbors isn’t likely to achieve much except a humiliating repeat of the Gulf War. Instead he starts fishing around for cheap and easy WMD (chemical, most likely) and funding terrorist attacks, most likely targetting Israel, possibly also the oil fields of his Arab neighbors. Noises will be made around the world, but little will actually be done until the big attack comes: a major nerve gas attack or 9/11-style attack, possibly in multple locations around the world (Israel, US and Europe most likely). War with allied forces follows, ending in complete defeat of Iraqi military, followed by occupation by Allied forces for at least several years. Nukes unlikely on either side, although Israel is uncertain.

Likely - As best case, but as Saddam weakens with age or dies, a power struggle starts between his two sons, plus a major figure in the military or two. US support will likely be sought by at least one faction, and even if not, US will try to influence the outcome in the hopes of creating a friendly regime. One faction (most likely the one not receiving US support) may claim to be the true voice of Islam and seek support from fundamentalist Muslim groups. Terror attacks very likely, both within Iraq and against nations seen as supporting rival factions. Unless one faction can quickly gain the support of the military, lengthy civil war and general chaos will result. During the confusion, Iran may decide to attack when a coordinated defense is impossible. Kurdish groups to the north may also sieze the opportunity settle old scores and perhaps break away as the independent nation of Kurdistan.

Not in my lifetime - Modern democracy in Iraq with fair, open elections and full equal rights to all.

And for the record, I’m probably in what Sam Stone would call the anti-war crowd.

It’s been a while, but I saw this thread, and thought I would give Sam a bit of the debate from the other side of the crowd.

As I mentioned in a much earlier thread (I will have to find some way to dig it up): I think that leaving Saddam in power doesn’t, in any way, threaten US interests. As a matter of fact, a recent article in Foreign Policy (article [url=http://www.foreignpolicy.com/, look for “An Unnecessary War”) agrees with this summation; Saddam, as a political survivor, is unlikely to take any of the chances described in Sam’s “Worst case” hypothesis above. In fact, I think that Sam’s best and worse cases are just as much “fantasies” as any other possible hypotheses put forward so far.

Let’s look at the facts:

  1. Before the recent push to oust Saddam, US forces in the Gulf were actually on the decrease: up to 9/11, we were slowly drawing down forces in Saudi, and troop strength in places like Qatar was minimal (in fact, I can personally attest that there were no more than 100 military personnel, of all types, in Qatar on 9/11). Even Kuwait was primarily a “pre-position” site, meaning that, although we had a lot of equipment stored there, there was no large amount of troops. In 1998, when the last Iraqi “crisis” occurred, we “boosted” troop strength to 20,000; after that, we dwindled down to between 5 and 6 thousand in the entire theater. When compared with the number of US troops in Korea, Japan, Europe, etc., the deployment in the Gulf was relatively insignificant, especially in terms of amount of money spent.

  2. Our military relationship with Saudi Arabia started long before the Gulf war, and had nothing to do with Iraq. Why this belief that, once Iraq is either “democratized” or “beheaded” that we will all of a sudden pull out? No basis in fact here; we have strategic reasons for remaining within the borders of Saudi, and as long as the Saud monarchy stays in power, we will most likely always have some military presence there. Our military forces are tied to the Saud family more than the country itself; it is fallacious to assume that we only came there to defend Saudi against Iraq. The royal family, even in the face of mounting criticism, would not tell us to leave; many of them feel that would be the beginning of the end of the monarchy.

  3. The development of nuclear weapons in Iraq would take many years (even the most hawkish in the administration admit that Saddam is years away from having even the most basic nuclear device); even if they did, there is no evidence, either now or from past behavior, that he would use them, especially against his neighbors. Nuking Kuwait or Ankara is ridiculous; once again, nothing in reality would support such a claim. Same with Israel: although the Israelis would be the only possible real target, besides Iran, for such a weapon, the reality is that it would never happen. Why? The same reason that detente worked in the Cold War: because he would be annihilated within minutes. No matter how many nuclear weapons he builds, they could only serve as deterrents, much the same as the NK or Pakistan/India cases show. Indeed, there are few places in the world that have as much hate between them as India and Pakistan; once they admitted to nuclear arsenals, they actually threatened using them on each other. Yet even in relatively unstable areas, the use of such weapons as deterrents are much greater than their physical deployment in combat.

  4. Though Saddam has shown support for Palestinian groups, some of which are known terrorist organizations, there is no widespread “support of terrorism”; compared to the Libyans in the '80’s, who supported everyone from the IRA to the Italians, Germans, and even some South American organizations, Saddam’s support of terrorism is clearly defined, and in relation to the Palestinian cause. This has existed in Iraq for over 30 years; they have been one of the most steadfast supporters of the Palestinians in the Middle East; right or wrong, it has little to do with Saddam himself. Once again, supporting terrorists would be out of character for Hussein, and would only serve to destabilize his own position; he knows he has many enemies, chief among them fundamentalists of both the Sunni and Shi’a camps. Handing them WMD would be suicidal: he wouldn’t be able to guarantee that they wouldn’t be turned against him, and if a group actually perpetrated an act against the US or its allies, he knows we would somehow blame it on him whether the proof existed or not.

  5. Use of a nuclear “umbrella” to build militarily is a false assumption; when playing the game with other nuclear powers, the likelihood of their use diminishes greatly (see Condoleeza Rice on this, as she stated a similar thesis in 2000 - again, ref the Foreign Policy article above). In specific, the US and Israel both possess the ability to conventionally destroy Iraq at a whim; Saddam has no illusions as to our capabilities, and knows that he would be dealt with swiftly in the event he ever gained a military edge (ref the Iraqi destruction of the Osirak Reactor). “Destruction of oil fields”, etc. as a possibility is just completely unfounded and implausible; he would be slitting his own throat, and has not yet proved such a desire.

In all, although the general opinion of Saddam is that he is some unchained madman, he has not conducted himself as such; as the authors of the above-mentioned article point out, he has proven himself to be quite a survivor, politically, and, though guilty of miscalculations and misjudgments, does not fit the profile so often portrayed in the media. BTW- this is in no way a defense of his personal traits, simply a realistic description (without resort to hyperbole and distortion) of the regime as led by Hussein.

As far as the OP goes, cases are as follows, realistically:

No invasion, Saddam stays in power. Now there are two possibilities:

a) (Assumption that the current administration simply decides war is too costly, but still keeps it’s current policies in tact re the Middle East) We simply back off, and allow the UN to handle the situation in Iraq (this is extremely unlikely, considering the administration’s opinion of the UN and itself, but I’m playing the game here). Sanctions continue, but France leads an effort to allow more outside investment in Iraq, with other European nations and Russia as partners. As the US has backed down, Saddam is seen as a hero to many Muslims and Arabs; as such, the US begins to get shut out of the Middle East. As we would be seen as bumblers and meddlers by most of the governments there, we would simply be courted for our money; the EU sees the opportunity, and makes overtures to the moderate governments of the region. A polarization occurs, as the US and Israel find themselves increasingly marginalized. A change of government in the US to an administration more capable of dealing with the world community, and less aware of our “Superpower” status, realizes the problems and tries to rectify the situation by approaching Israel, the EU, and the Arab moderates with a more even hand.

b) (Assumption that the administration tries a different tack: once they realize the war is too costly, they work with the UN, the EU, and Russia to formulate a plan of monitoring for Iraq, with the incentive of reduction of sanctions over the long term) Iraq, having seen to have been reined in by the US, at least now has some incentives (besides destruction) to comply with world and UN demands. As such, they allow inspections and monitoring, within a framework allowing the reduction of sanctions; in addition, foreign investment is increased, as the country and situation becomes more stable. Saddam grows older, and his sons, neither of which are considered particularly stable, are suspect by the larger Ba’ath political entity. As foreign involvement increases, Saddam and his family find themselves increasingly isolated: a purge is too difficult and costly (they now see investment and money flowing, don’t want to disrupt that), and the Ba’athists feel more capable of staging opposition (within the empowered elite, of course) against the sons. As Saddam weakens with age, he becomes like Qaddafi in Libya; widely seen as disconnected from the real world, but, because of his brutal reputation, still needing to be handled with kid gloves. Unlike in Libya, however, there are a core of politicians within Iraq that can subtly manage Saddam into a corner, thereby restricting his (and his sons) abilities. With outside support, such an elite could possibly move into power; it would probably start out as a junta of sorts, then consolidate into one individual (someone military, such as Musharef in Pakistan). Though democracy would be a long way away, it would have to go through a few steps; if adequately paid off, Saddam’s sons would be little trouble, as neither has demonstrated the willingness to go through the political machinations that their father has.
The big problem is, if Saddam stays in power, how does the US act? It isn’t simply a matter of our walking out at this stage; there has to be an organized retreat from the current position. If we had never threatened war to start with, the situation would be much different now; as we already have, it has to be treated much more delicately. We don’t want to lose face in an Arab world that already sees us as relatively ineffective (the “war” in Afghanistan has not really gone anywhere, and we are not a player in the Palestinian conflict, with the exception of our unflagging support for Sharon); our pulling back from the brink, as it were, would have to be handled with a great deal of finesse (which is in critically short supply in the current administration). Basically, both best and worst cases depend on us, and our abilities or desires to work with the UN, the EU, Russia, and the Arab states; as our current administration has not shown a focused determination to cooperate (instead, I would have to say that “bullying” is the best term for our actions), I think anything I stated above as hypothesis has little basis in reality.

For the record: we will go to war, the only thing that needs to be set is the date. It will be a mistake, whether it turns out to be quick and clean, or long and dirty; things in the ME will change, and not for the better. The Arab moderates will have little reason to be happy: we will be running a military or puppet administration in Iraq, and the factions will all be jockeying (if not actually fighting) for control; the Turks will most likely have to move their own troops into the north, to take care of the Kurds (unless we use our troops to quell the inevitable unrest); the Syrians and the Jordanian regimes will have to be on the lookout for unrest, as large portions of their populations complain that they didn’t do enough to stop the flow of either Kurd or Iraqi immigrants; the Saudis will have to beef up their internal security, as a large portion of the Salafist populous becomes unhappy with Saudi support of the US puppet regime in Iraq; there will be serious divisions within OPEC on just how Iraqi oil is handled, and whether the US has the right to control flow and adjust quotas; on and on and on, ad nauseam…

Regardless of what one may think, the administration has looked at very little regarding the long term effects of this adventure; to say that we will instill a democracy, and it will start a “domino effect”, ignores history, culture, and traditions of the Middle East (and the world, I might add). It is dangerously and foolishly naive; of all the “fantasies”, it ranks right up there at the top, because many in the administration (and on these boards) seem to actually believe that such a notion could work. And it’s odd that it comes from a group of conservatives that normally wouldn’t want to see the government in charge of anything; yet you trust them to conduct such an experiment of “top down” governance? So basically we are going to install a democratic government, everyone will see how great it is, and bam, off we go? Does anyone remember what happened to Eastern Europe when the wall fell? How many people had clamored for free enterprise, open government, etc., to be like the West, and what happened when they actually got it? Like I said: there is an awful lot of wishful thinking going on here, and most of it is on the part of the administration. And we will all pay for it later, I’m sure.


Um…yes. I seem to recall there was a domino effect and all the countries in the area democratised. This happened despite the fact that none of these countries had a history, culture or tradition of democracy.

At the time of writing, all of these countries remain democracies and none of them appear to have any desire whatsoever to return to dictatorships. They have economic problems, yes, but none of them wants to be a dictatorship again.

What makes you think the middle east will be any different? Last time I looked, the middle east was populated by the same kind of homo sapiens as eastern europe. So they probably have similar hopes, desires, fears etc as any other human would.

So it would appear that you are wrong/unduly pessimistic in this case.

Note that the Eastern European countries became democratic not because of some invasion but because of a successful policy of containment. Note also the important difference that there was no hostile ideology like Islamic fundamentalism waiting in the wings unlike in the Arab world. Finally the East European countries had vastly better social indicators like literacy levels compared to the Arab world.

These three factors make the proposed “democracy through invasion” strategy vastly different from what happened in Eastern Europe. There are big differences between Germany and Japan and Iraq as well though that is another debate I won’t go into here.

For one thing, most Middle Eastern countries have been free from foreign repression for most of a century, yet they have yet to democratize on their own. Why should whatever we do in Iraq suddenly make everything change?

FWIW, most of the nations of Eastern Europe (Poland, Czechoslovakia, and the Baltic states among others, IIRC) had known democracy between the World Wars. So they had a nascent democratic tradition to return to, once the USSR’s control was lifted.

“Barring that, the best-case scenario as I see it is more of the status quo. That means years of multi-billion dollar annual expenses in maintaining a military presence, and a long-term presence in Saudi Arabia, which is one of the things inflaming Islamic terror against the U.S.”

A long-term presence in the Mid-East region as a whole, and what is perceived as an inequitable position in the Israel-Palestinian conflict, is going to continue to inflame Islamic fundamentalist terror against the U.S. Without a rethinking of the US’s policy toward the entire region is the situation going to improve. There isn’t a “best case” scenario, IMHO. Only a “bad” and “worse.”

Responding to the OP (good of you to raise the question, Sam), my expectation is that the future of Iraq, absent an invasion, would look much like the past dozen years.

Since Desert Storm, Iraq hasn’t invaded its neighbors. (As opposed to the twice that it did so when Saddam was our SOB.) It hasn’t been able to develop nukes. (And is still several years away at present, apparently.) Then there’s the question of whether bio and chem weapons really constitute WMD; this guy says they don’t, and he’s got some real experience to base that judgment on. (Snopes’ counterargument is pretty unconvincing, IMHO.)

Since we’ve been protecting both the Kurds and the Shi’ites with the two no-fly zones, he’s even been less nasty to the Iraqi people during that time.

Excepting the matter of nukes, I believe we can easily maintain the status quo, without inspections, until Saddam dies of old age. And regarding nukes, I believe that for a lot less trouble than we’re going through now, we can force a serious round of inspections every few years to make sure he doesn’t develop nukes or long-range missiles.

Or we can roll the dice on an invasion/occupation, and see what happens. I wonder if David Halberstam is preparing a sequel to The Best and the Brightest.

The “democratization” of Eastern Europe has been the subject of many a tome; I am not going to go into a full description here; however, it is just now that some of them are actually getting on their feet, over a decade after the wall came down. Poland, one of the more successful countries, has had nine changes of government; most of the Eastern European governments were actually run by “ex”-Communist party members who had “changed” their affiliations, so to speak. This was not necessarily a bad thing, as these politicians new more about keeping a bureaucracy afloat than their opposition did, at the beginning; however, the point is that many of these governments were not completely dismantled by a foreign power, either.

Once again, the point was that even for those countries, democracy did not come easily, and, as has been pointed out above, they had a much more “democratic” history to start with. Unfortunately, there is no such history in the ME, on a general basis; Turkey and Israel are the only countries that can rightly be called “democracies,” and neither was installed by force. The Israelis came with a European outlook, heavily influenced also by the British; the Turks are a completely different story, wherein one man (Kemal Ataturk) decided to completely modernize his country (this was an extremely painful time for Turkey, but this was still an internal transition).

Jojo, I appreciate your comments, but I am not wrong nor pessimistic: I am simply realistic. Regardless of the fact that, yes, the Arabs are all human beings, their history, culture, society, and traditions are very different from those of Europe. As such, with a basic grounding in these areas, one can make a few hypotheses; I have done so, and stand by my statements. If you know of examples that can prove that my realism is unfounded, I would appreciate the citations; as such, I think it is a matter of record that East European democracies had sever difficulties in their early years, and are only now starting to come into their own.

BTW - here is a good site that discusses democracy, as in how NATO and the Europeans view that definition (here). If you look at the “prerequisites”, so to speak, you will see that there are several conditions that a society must meet to be considered democratic; in Poli Sci and international governmental theory, these conditions are constantly discussed (as far as priority, relevance, timeliness, etc.). I am not saying that Arab peoples can’t understand or benefit from democratic institutions and governance; my point is that democracy is a development, not a label. You don’t just walk in, knock the current group out of the way, and install a whole new group of leaders; for a democracy to work, there has to be a basic belief in the system and it’s capabilities to provide. If the US installs a new government, where is it’s right to rule? How did it earn a place? How can the people trust it? Basically, the first phase of the new government will have to be a military government; for all intents and purposes, this will be a “benevolent” dictatorship. Once this government sees the development of a substantial group of bureaucrats, a competent civil service, a parliamentary body, and a leadership cadre, it can begin the transition phase; however, since the government is being created from above, there is really no accrued credibility or inherent capability in such a government. As such, these kind of transitions can take a long time, even in relatively stable areas (such as Japan or Germany after WWII); when we throw in such pressures as ethnic and religious diversity and conflict, outside influence from fundamental religious parties (both Sunni and Shi’a), the re-distribution of the oil wealth, and various and sundry other complexities, the challenge becomes harder still. Given a group of “outsiders” that understood the history and culture of the area, it would still be a formidable task; we have no such group available at this time, and yet this is when we need them the most. It is a sad fact that Americans in general are woefully ignorant of the ME as a whole; few (unless they have relatives there, or originate there) understand the culture, the religion, or the history of the region. Our current administration has shown the same ignorance, and continues to do so.

And Jojo, just to clarify, I don’t think any country (or group of citizens of a country) ever “wants” to become or have a dictatorship. Croatia was one until Tudjman died, and other countries are certainly close. Actually, it is republics and democracies that can often be corrupted into “dictatorships”; some people would say Russia is a “modified” dictatorship, given the current political system. I would agree most people don’t want them, but they usually don’t realize what has happened until it is too late. Sometimes it starts as a concentration of powers into the executive branch, as the result of a crisis or problem that needs solving, and devolves from there; sometimes, as often in South America, a group of influential people think that a strong leader is necessary, and they put someone in place. In most cases, they don’t realize the danger until after the fact; then, it is usually much more difficult to rectify the problem.

Anyhow, hope this clarifies my position a bit.


Another big difference between Eastern Europe and the Arab world is the presence of instititutions like the EU in their region which gave them strong incentives to maintain and strenghthen their democracies in the hope of joining. Nothing like that exists in the Middle East.

BTW having thought about it a little further I probably exaggerated a bit when I said it was “highly unlikely” that Saddam would acquire nukes. It’s just unlikely . I still think that scenarios where Saddam actually uses nukes or successfuly invades other countries using “nuclear blackmail” are highly unrealistic.

The Foreign Policy article does a good job of explaining this.
Since Greco Loco’s link doesn’t work here it is. (click on An unnecessary war.)

The sections explaining why the attacks on Iran and Kuwait weren’t quite as irrational as some claim are especially good. Certainly Saddam is no madman otherwise he wouldn’t have remained in power for so long. He has made miscalcuations but so have most major governments in history. I don’t think his miscalulations were any worse than the Soviet Union putting missiles in Cuba or invading Afghanistan.

Cyberpundit, thanks for the assist on the link… and I thought I previewed the damned thing, too.

Anyhow, the article is well-written, and provides a good summation; I hope you guys find it useful.