News

    Analysts: Iraqi Election Success Critical for Bush's Second Term

    The outcome of Sunday's elections in Iraq could have an impact on U.S. public opinion, which in recent weeks has grown increasingly skeptical about the situation there. 

    In several recent newspaper and television interviews, the president continues to promote the idea that successful elections in Iraq could have far-reaching consequences, both in the Middle East and at home.

    He recently spoke with NBC News.

    "This is just step one of a series of important steps toward the emergence of a democratic Iraq,” said Mr. Bush.  “And I believe it is going to happen and when it happens, America will be more secure for the long run."

    The president has also said that he sees his re-election victory in November as validation of his policy on Iraq.

    Henry Nau is a political science professor at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.  He told VOA's 'Encounter' program that the president is confident about moving ahead in Iraq in the wake of his re-election.

    "And half of the American people supported him and I think strongly support him at this point,” said Mr. Nau.  “And therefore, he moves into his second term with a substantial reinforcement of the directions in which he has been going [on foreign policy]."

    But recent public-opinion polls suggest a growing number of Americans have doubts about the situation in Iraq.  A recent USA Today-CNN-Gallup poll found that 59 percent of those surveyed said things are going badly for the United States in Iraq.  Other recent polls showed that a majority of those asked now believe that the Iraq war was not worth the cost.

    Despite the president's re-election, Democrats like Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy continue to hammer away at the administration's handling of Iraq.

    "But I do not retreat from the view that Iraq is George Bush's Vietnam,” said Mr. Kennedy.  “At the critical moment in the war on terrorism, the administration turned away from pursuing Osama bin Laden and made the catastrophic choice that bogged down America in an endless quagmire in Iraq."

    Political analysts say the Iraqi elections could have a major impact on U.S. domestic opinion and could affect the president's domestic agenda in Congress.  Larry Sabato is a political expert at the University of Virginia.

    "If he can begin to turn this very dangerous and unhappy situation in Iraq around, then he will have a reasonable chance to get some of his other second term agenda items passed,” said Mr. Sabato.  “If he does not, it is easy to see how Iraq will become the quagmire that Vietnam was."

    George Washington University professor Henry Nau says Iraq looms as the president's top leadership challenge in his second term.

    "I think he is committed to staying the course in Iraq,” added Mr. Nau.  “There was a lot of controversy about that particular conflict, not so much about Afghanistan.  But it is clear that we are there and that we are now pursuing policies that have a chance of providing for a stable, modestly democratic government in that country and I think George Bush will stay that course."

    Although the elections are an important step in Iraq's transition to democracy, many analysts say much of the American public is more concerned about the continuing U.S. casualties in Iraq and the extensive tours of duty for U.S. soldiers there.

    Michael O'Hanlon is a foreign policy expert at the Brookings Institution, a public policy research organization in Washington.

    "And I think for most American citizens, the level of violence against our own troops and, of course, Iraqis against each other is probably a more important barometer of how well things are going inside of Iraq than the march of a political process," noted Mr. O’Hanlon.

    As that political process moves forward, a number of analysts say they expect increasing pressure from the American public to speed the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and turn over security responsibilities to the Iraqis themselves.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora