Skip to main content

A Switch in Time

A New Strategy for America in Iraq

By Kenneth M. Pollack

There is no greater foreign policy challenge for the United States today than the reconstruction of Iraq. The Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings recently assembled a small group of experts to consider U.S. policy toward Iraq in all of its dimensions—military, political, and economic. Saban Center director of research Ken Pollack took the recommendations of the Iraq Policy Working Group and combined them with findings from trips to Iraq and to U.S. Central Command in Tampa to produce A Switch in Time, a comprehensive strategy for stabilizing Iraq in the near term and setting it back on the path toward political and economic advancement. The current U.S. approach is encountering considerable difficulty and appears unlikely to produce a stable Iraq within the next few years, not only because of the military insurgency but also because of government failure in Iraq: the overthrown Saddam regime was not replaced by effective military or political institutions. The alternative proposed by some Bush administration critics, however—a rapid withdrawal—would not serve U.S. interests. While many thoughtful experts have attempted to offer a realistic third course of action, none has so far succeeded. This report proposes such a strategy by detailing the essential need to integrate military, political, and economic policies in Iraq. This concise and straightforward book offers a comprehensive, alternative approach to current U.S. military, political, and economic policies in Iraq. Iraq Policy Working Group: Raad Alkadiri (PFC Energy Consulting), Frederick Barton (Center for Strategic and International Studies), Daniel Byman (Saban Center and Georgetown University), Noah Feldman (New York University), Paul Hughes (United States Army [ret.], United States Institute of Peace), Brian Katulis (Center for American Progress), Andrew Krepinevich Jr. (United States Army [ret.], Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments),Andrew Parasiliti (Barbour, Griffith & Rogers), Kenneth M. Pollack (Saban Center), Irena Sargsyan (Saban Center), and Joseph Siegle (Development Alternatives)

Get daily updates from Brookings