I am afraid to hypothesize that the conventional wisdom that has fed the US foreign policy-making in recent years has relied on the use of non-democratic means to try to impose democracy and quell terrorism. Non-democratic strategies manifest in the use of force and result in war and political chaos that weaken international peace and global security. The case of the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq represents a typical  illustration. There is no need to expand on this here. Media sources provide excellent analysis and factual details on the issue at stake. With recent developments on the ground in Iraq, policymakers ought to understand and accept that non-democratic means cannot serve democracy successfully and consistently. The more troops are on the ground in Iraq, the more increase of sectarian violence leading the country to the shadow of civil war as the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan recently warned. The end does not justify the means in this case because the use of force simply betrays democracy.

Only diplomacy can truly serve democracy with success and sustainability. Let us hope that the Bush Administration is on their way to embrace the wisdom of fully using diplomatic means to promote democracy and global security and peace. The analyst could interpret recent diplomatic offensives by the Bush Administration, following the massive loss of the Republican Party during the November 2006 elections, as the early warnings of a strategic paradigm shift in foreign policy orientation by President Bush’s White House. As a result, real politics would acknowledge and revere the soft and constructive power of diplomatic solutions. It might be though to understand how diplomacy can still reconstruct what real politics has destroyed. Real politics might challenge the thought that negotiations will succeed where the use of force has generated confusion and failed into sectarian violence. However, if we are able to reach out to local Middle-East role-players such as Iran and Syria for dialogue and cooperation, the diplomat would happily hypothesize that we are heading the right way for peace in Iraq.

Multi-Track diplomacy requires relying on local capacity for problem-solving. In such logic it is of paramount importance that Iran and Syria are invited to the "club" in contributing to national problem-solving in Iraq. History demonstrates that Iran and Syria represent key players in the Middle-East politics and culture. To some extent, lessons learned from the Ottoman Empire suggest that Iraq represents the heart of the Middle-East. The heart cannot be isolated from the rest of the body without experiencing hemorrhage and organic crisis causing systemic troubles because it shares the same blood and life than the rest of the body. Iraq needs to reconnect with the Middle-East by rebuilding on its close systemic links with Iran and Syria. Any democratic policy-making might need to take those parameters into consideration for peace in Iraq and for international security.

Jacques KOKO, Senior Political Analyst -Americans for Informed Democracy