Kagan: Correct. And, in that respect, ever since the surge, the additional troops we sent, there have been great successes…
SPIEGEL: …which are undeniable, though not necessarily sustainable. And this results primarily from the fact that the US government is paying bribes to tens of thousands of Sunni fighters to turn their backs on al-Qaida and no longer attack US troops.
Kagan: The money is really not the main issue. The issue is the entire new US military strategy, which establishes security and dramatically improves the lives of people. The New York Times recently reported that the overwhelming majority of al-Qaida terrorists have abandoned Iraq as a safe haven and that they are joining their fellow insurgents in Afghanistan.
SPIEGEL: The terrorists are undoubtedly concentrated in Afghanistan and in the border region with Pakistan, and some are certainly going to those places from Iraq. But this is not an entirely new development. The war against terrorism should have been waged in Afghanistan rather than Iraq, as Obama has said.
Kagan: You cannot acknowledge our successes in Iraq because Europeans can never admit that Bush is doing something right.
SPIEGEL: An overwhelming majority of Europeans want to see Barack Obama become president…
Kagan: Yes, of the United States, although they would never elect someone like that in their own countries. But I understand the Europeans. I too believe that Obama would be an exciting choice, given America’s history. But also a risky one. He has no foreign policy experience compared with McCain, who has been to Europe dozens of times and is intimately familiar with world problems.