Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Case for Doing Nothing in Iraq

The same people who got us into this mess want America to “do something.” Ignore them.

By BARRY R. POSEN, Politico.com
June 16, 2014

Here we go again. Whenever there’s a crisis anywhere in the world, you can count on America’s pundit class to demand action—usually of the military variety. Don’t just stand there, bomb something! After more than two decades of unchallenged American hegemony, Washington keyboards seem almost programmed to call for intervention halfway around the globe.

So it is with Iraq today, where the government has lost effective control of the Sunni Arab majority areas of the country. ISIS, the feared Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, has served as a vanguard uniting disaffected Iraqi Sunni Arabs into a fighting force effective enough to defeat larger and better-armed Iraqi government armed forces in certain areas. Chattering-class members from across the political spectrum see U.S. vital interests threatened, and are demanding that President Obama fire up the fighter-bombers.

Eleven years after the invasion that precipitated the present morass, how should we think about all this? Should we listen to the very same people who called for the war in 2003, with disastrous results, and are now insisting on action?

The escalating civil war in Iraq, and the increasingly likely de facto partition of the country, should be assessed from first principles. The United States spent enormous amounts of treasure and considerable blood trying to turn Iraq into a functioning multi-ethnic democracy; this effort failed. The costs are sunk. Our analysis must begin from the present: We are being asked to pay new costs and bear new burdens. For what and with what hope of success?

(More here.)

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home