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

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Two Nations, Two States

It can be profoundly tricky to discuss Israeli-Palestinian relations, if you're not Jewish and many of your friends are.  So, I'd just turn your attention to this piece by Josh Marshall.

There is a key truth here, that I think needs to be acknowledged and written into American foreign policy in the Middle East: nations that have states become more responsible when they have something to lose.  The Palestinians have nothing to lose.  They are an occupied people with few rights and no sovereignty.  Of course they aren't interested in compromise, for the same reason that Sitting Bull wasn't interested in compromise.  Until the behavior of the occupying/invading peoples changes, why should they believe that anything will come from the stronger group protecting the rights of the weak.

Similarly, I think we need to look at the Kurds and Sunni Iraqis the same way.  Iraqi Kurds have a de facto state, but Turkish Kurds do not.  If we created an independent Kurdistan, we create an incentive for Kurds in Turkey to act more responsibly, because their cousins in Kurdistan have something to lose.  Similarly, the only reason ISIS became powerful is because they offered Sunnis an option that wasn't subjugation by a Shia/Alawite government.

I whole-heartedly feel that the US is right to be retreating from the madhouse that is Middle East politics.  But there is only so far we can withdraw.  Perhaps now, instead of withdrawing, we should be trying to redraw the map.

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