Sunday, May 20, 2007

28 down - 20 to go

Finally a point of compromise between the Democratic Congress and Bush on the immigration bill. Immigration was viewed as the most likely cause of an agreement, but I was starting to lose faith that any substantial legislation would be achieved given the contentious nature of recent months.

While trade has been bandied about as another possible agreement, I can't see that happening given that the Doha round is dead and the Dems have turned more protectionist.

I am curious how much the Dems will give on Iraq funding legislation. Bush vetoed what was essentially a toothless bill and has threatened the same on another toothless funding bill passed by the House. In the end, I'm afraid that the Dems will cave & give Bush another $95B carte blanche. While there have been noises about how some results have to be seen from the surge by the fall, once again there are not SMART metrics to determine success or failure. No agreed upon scoreboard. Have heard folks on the right state that we need to start discussing the consequences of our failure in Iraq, and I'm in full agreement. The left needs to create psycho-historical predictions (just finished listening to the Foundation trilogy - had read it back in high school) of what will happen whether we stay-the-course for the next decade, or cut-and-run in 2009.

So given either approach by the US, what are the differential probabilities of each of the following happening:




For the political questions, the probabilities are low to very low regardless or our actions, so the differential probabilities are clearly less than 5% - perhaps as low as 1%. The carnage in Iraq is a trickier question, already 2 million Iraqis have been displaced, and how we exit Iraq will have a noticeable impact on how deadly the internecine killing becomes, but this is the one question that I do not have a good feel for the differential probabilities. Given that we went to Iraq for geo-political reasons and not human rights, the political reasons for staying do not hold merit, so the political will to stay will continue to erode - expect the US to largely leave Iraq within the next 5 years, though expect us to keep a fully manned post in the Green Zone for years to come.

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