It won't be quick or easy. But, surprisingly, there are at least some ideas
Some in the Baker group are concerned that drawdown signals could make it harder to reach an agreement by raising fears that the United States will not act as the guarantor of any accord that is reached. And actual drawdowns or pullback could make the remaining U.S. advisers more vulnerable and spur more violence. But regardless of U.S. moves, if chances of an accord recede, the environment will become increasingly dangerous for any remaining forces. Within six months, one expert said, it should be clear whether Iraqis can reach agreement. The conflict's own dynamic may in effect become the timeline that everyone is looking for.
Trying to fashion a stable and unified Iraq will be a huge job, one that may in the end prove impossible, but there's at least one obvious candidate for the job. Flournoy speculates that the Iraq Study Group chief could be tapped to carry out the report's diplomatic recommendations. "It is possible that the president will say, 'Jim Baker, you just got yourself a job. Go get on a plane,'" she says. If so, the Texas lawyer might well find himself reliving his earlier days of shuttle diplomacy, described in his memoir: "Almost everywhere," he wrote, "I was met with delays, refusals, evasions, unreasonable demands, broken commitments, and endless lectures about the untrustworthiness of the other side." Hard to imagine better training than that for fixing the mess in Iraq.