Peter Robinson: One other question. Be honest. Ten years from now, will Afghanistan and Iraq be functioning as democracies....Larry?This is what he said to the San Francisco Chronicle this week (via Dan Drezner):
Larry Diamond: Afghanistan, I'm very skeptical about because I don't think we're willing to make the commitment. Iraq, I think--I will be pleased if it's functioning in the most minimal sense, Peter, because that would be a historic breakthrough. I think they've got a decent chance...
Peter Robinson: You do?
Larry Diamond: ...if we're committed.
The story of Iraq, this onetime optimist believes, is a tale of missed opportunities.Sad, very sad.
"We just bungled this so badly," said Diamond, a 52-year-old senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution. "We just weren't honest with ourselves or with the American people about what was going to be needed to secure the country."
"You can't develop democracy without security," he said. "In Iraq, it's really a security nightmare that did not have to be. If you don't get that right, nothing else is possible. Everything else is connected to that...."
Last Thursday, when it came time for Diamond to return, he did not get on the plane.
Instead, he was in his office at the Hoover Tower, disillusioned over the desperate turn of events he had witnessed and what he feels was a country allowed to spin out of control, in large part, he says, because of the Bush administration's unwillingness to commit a big enough force to protect Iraqis from militias and insurgents.