Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Monday, June 22, 2015

Light Posting

We are in Day Five of the MOVE into our new home.  By my calculations, we should be finished in time for the Things to go off to college.

I would like to note that Max Fisher at Vox has decided to deride my long-held plan for peace in Iraq: partition.  His point is that sectarianism is the problem and you have to solve that problem to solve Iraq and partition would only make sectarianism worse.  That's a fair point.  If it were true.

The problem isn't sectarianism.  That's the symptom.  The problem is that Iraq never was and never will be a coherent polity.  It is a fiction created in the British Foreign Office after Versailles.  (We are still paying for that particular clusterf&$*.)  Iraq was not created by "Iraqis" because "Iraqis" didn't exist until the British and French created them.  The issue isn't that Sunni Arabs and Shia Arabs can't get along, it's that power has no legitimacy unless it is tied to rents, specifically oil rents.  Because Iraq was a petro state, there was a point to staying together.  With Sunnis no longer getting first drink from the fountain, there is no point in their playing nice with people they really never cared to live with in the first place.  And the Shia really feel no need to share, because they were shut out for decades.

They retreat into their sectarian identities, but those identities aren't really about religion.  They are entirely political.  Few Sunni want to live under ISIS rule, but they sure as hell don't want to live under a Shiite regime in Baghdad.

I still believe that a Sunni state that stretches from north of Baghdad into Syria will have the effect of calming these tensions - not ending them.  Iraq and "Ninevah" won't ever like each other, but they will be considerably less likely to kill each other.  The fact that the only really negative example Fisher can muster as a counter-example is the partition of South Asia in 1947 shows how far we've come int our ability to manage these types of changes.

It's time to act.

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