News that President Obama is sending 300 military ‘advisers’ to help train the Iraqi army stirred a few echoes in the memory – and I for one didn’t have to delve too deeply to recall the source: Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy once sent military ‘advisers’ to Vietnam to help train that country’s inadequate army.
And we all know what happened after that.
It is unimaginable that Obama will make the same mistake as his predecessors. And anyway this time the situation is quite different. In
Still, the parallels between the two conflicts may leave some observers with feelings of unease.
There is another similarity. In
Mariki is reported to be under pressure from American envoys to step aside in favour of a more flexible candidate. He might be well advised to lock his doors at night.
The analogies are even striking in military terms. The Viet Minh, later the Viet Cong, made startling progress against the inept
Presumably Obama has learnt a few lessons from history and is unlikely to stumble into something he cannot control, as his predecessors did. At least that’s what I imagine sensible Americans will be hoping. And I doubt that even the loony Republican right will be baying for American blood to be spilled.
The loonies may even come to accept that Iran, once a member of the ‘Axis of Evil’, must now be regarded as a contingent ally. Even they can recognise that international crises have a habit of creating strange bed-fellows. Acceptance of the
One can only wonder what kind of quid pro quos might emerge from such an arrangement. But Obama must surely be thinking that the
The situation, in short, is terrible but fascinating.