Friday, June 20, 2014

redraw the map?

Per usual doing a lot more reading again about what is happening to/in Iraq. Especially the historical perspective. Two things that stand out for me so far are columns by Fareed Zakaria (here) and a recent blog by Ross Douthat of the NY Times (here).

Some people say "you broke it, you bought it" about our involvement in Iraq. I think it was broke when we got there. Afghanistan too. And I don't think any amount of troops or "advisors" (anybody remember the first people we sent to Vietnam?) is going to make a difference.

If we can use drones to specifically target key ISIS folks before they do any more damage then maybe that could be the extent of our involvement. But then again maybe we don't need to do any more.

I had pretty much come to the conclusion we should just let the Iraqis sort it out and if Iran could somehow broker some sort of deal, to let them, but just today I read another chapter in a different book/different subject, "My Promised Land" by Ari Shavit. He spends an entire chapter talking about the nuclear threat posed by Iran (not just to Israel but to the entire Middle East and ultimately the world). Mr. Shavit is not just another Israeli hawk, he is a liberal columnist/writer and from my read, is often critical of many of the things done by his country in the name of Zionism.

But germaine to this topic, he feels the U.S. and others failed to stop Iran soon/early enough from developing into a nuclear nation (and in the process stalled attempts by Israel to intervene in Iran as well) so the point here is that while we should not send in troops or get heavily involved, this is like a chess game and while the ISIS people move players around, so is Iran. They are involved in Syria now and would probably love being on the world stage as being able to "fix" things in Iraq that the all-powerful United States could not.

As to the history, remember, the names and borders we see now are mostly about 100 years old. Many of them were drawn up by the French and Great Britain in the aftermath of WWI and the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

I can't add much more (if anything) to the discussion but this one quote from Douthat sums it all up pretty well; "I wouldn’t want to be in the position of asking anyone, American or otherwise, to be the last man to die for the sake of a hundred-year-old map."

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