On June 30, a temporary, appointed Iraqi government will assume what the Bush administration now calls "limited sovereignty” over a country still policed by troops under foreign command. The six-month period during which that interim caretaker government, outlined Wednesday at the United Nations Security Council by special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, will have nominal control of Iraq may well prove to be the most precarious of the entire Iraqi venture. A weak government that lacks popular legitimacy will attempt to exercise authority over a restive country bristling with militias, all while picking its way through the minefield that will be its relationship with the United States.
The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic By Chalmers Johnson, Metropolitan Books, 400 pages, $25.00
America Unbound: The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy By Ivo H. Daalder and James M. Lindsay, The Brookings Institution, 246 pages, $22.95
President George W. Bush's foreign policy has been nothing if not polarizing. Nearly all the Democratic primary candidates were able to throw darts at it in their stump speeches to cheers of approval. The front tables of urban bookstores teem with anti-Bush manifestos, and no end of exposés on the administration's mendacity circulate through networks of protesters over the Web.