Henry Kissinger outlines his vision for the endgame in Iraq in a piece in the Washington Post, arguing that recent progress makes redeployment of US troops feasible, but "establishing a deadline is the surest way to undermine the hopeful prospects." A fixed deadline would encourage both al-Qaeda and Iran to plan a resurgence, writes the former secretary of state, and it would undermine the necessary diplomacy, which he sees including a regional peace conference.
Barack Obama is moving toward a position in which withdrawal would be based on conditions, "but if that is the case, why establish a deadline at all?" Kissinger asks. "The American presence in Iraq should not be presented as open-ended," he writes, which is why Iraqi PM Nouri al Maliki welcomed Obama's talk of withdrawal last week, "but neither should it be put forward in terms of rigid deadlines. Withdrawal is a means; the end is a more peaceful and hopeful world."