After WWII the Bretton Woods agreement, included the United States and 43 other countries, called for international monetary and financial order. In addition, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, now known as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund were established both with the explicit goal of providing loans and a variety of assistance programs aimed at the stabilization of financial markets. From history, we know that European nations heavily used these resources to climb out of the destruction of war.
The United States also developed the Marshall Plan, with the goal of coordinating and integrating American and European economic activities. In exchange for massive loans and assistance, European nations were required to promote economic development, stabilize financial markets and furnish the U.S. with needed products and services. Strict goals were established to ensure that European nations become fully independent of foreign assistance. Lastly, in a political effort to strengthen Europe, the US formed NATO in 1949. The goal of NATO was to ensure mutual defense and promote democracy and peace throughout the world. Many of these institutions continue to exist and thrive today.
Any nation cannot fully consider and implement political processes when its citizens don’t have the most basic necessities of food, shelter, utilities and jobs. The financial strength of Iraq must serve as the second phase in the reconstruction of this nation.
To assure the people of Iraq that the U.S. will not cut and run, treaties with free nations must pledge mutual defense and support of this emerging nation. Financial incentives must be provided for the goods and services produced within Iraq and pledges of billions of dollars today and into the future must be secured, not only from the U.S. but from all the other nations of the world. A piecemeal approach will not work and existing organizations, such as the United Nations, are inappropriate forums as a result of their somewhat dubious membership requirements. The Secretary of State and other national leaders must bring together the leaders of Western nations that have a clear interest in the stabilization of this region to form a consensus on the future financial and political direction of assistance in Iraq.
The U.S. military and its allies have provided the groundwork for the next phase of the reconstruction process. The world has an opportunity to move Iraq forward with targeted financial assistance and political support. Or, the world has the opportunity to blame the U.S. military and leadership for a failed war in Iraq. The U.S. leadership must focus not on the question of when and how many troops should leave, but on how to develop a council of free nations that promote and stabilize the financial markets and political processes within Iraq.
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