My Foreign Policy
Robert M. Price
So far in the debate about Iraq, which seems every bit as messy as the war itself, no one seems to have appreciated the truly radical nature of the Bush initiative to bring democracy to the Arab nations. Only a very few years ago, this would have been unthinkable. We would not have dared to alienate the fat cat oil sheikhs who run these states, so we would not interfere with the despotic way they oppressed their poor subjects. And since these destitute people could not vote, they started taking to terrorism, despising the Western governments (mainly ours) who propped up their hated rulers.
George W. Bush started down a historic and heroic path in announcing we would pave the way for peace and render terror a useless fossil by transforming these Middle Eastern states into democracies. This radical prescription was revolutionary in both courage and wisdom. It was, in effect, to switch sides from the oppressors to the oppressed. Long ago, Andrew Young said, just before he got canned, that we must show radical states like Algeria that the United States is their natural ally. That is what Bush is doing, though no one seems either to notice or to give him credit.
We have the clout we need to twist the arm of states like Saudi Arabia, since the market works both ways: if we are worried about their turning off the oil spigot, they must equally worry about having no customers. If we really do switch to alternative energy sources or drill for our own oil, what is OPEC going to do with the stuff: drink it?
As to John ("Jengis") Kerry’s criticisms of Bush’s handling of the Iraq war, who can take them seriously? It is just post-game carping by someone who has nothing better to propose. But I do. Let’s sort out the issues and clarify some priorities.
First, weapons of mass destruction were never the issue in contemplating an invasion of Iraq. I strongly suspect that Bush gave in to Colin Powell’s dovish instincts (remember, Powell opposed the first Gulf War) by going hat-in-hand to the United Nations. He should have just recruited what allies he could to invade when he wanted to. The recently minted Bush Doctrine was reason enough: Iraq was a notorious state sponsor of terrorism, and as such it had to be shut down. My guess is that the weapons of mass destruction did exist and were shipped off to Syria in the weeks of delay while Bush humored Powell, languishing in the UN. But it hardly matters.
As important as it is in the long run to spread democracy through the region, a peaceful and democratic Iraq is not the primary goal of our intervention there. If it remains in self-consuming chaos, it will at least be sidelined as a force for international mischief. "If Satan is risen up against himself, how can his kingdom stand?"
But there are three things we can do to lower the level of fighting in Iraq. First, take down Syria. They are ruled by Socialist Baathists, just like Iraq was. That is one of the reasons they actively support both Iraq’s own Baathist insurgents and other Arab terrorists entering Iraq from outside.
Second, take down Iran. Here it might be enough to augment the efforts of the moderate secular forces already working against the tyranny of the Shi’ite mullahs. This is crucial, because it is these devils who stir up both the Iraqi Shi’ite faction of insurgents and support Hezbollah in Palestine. Weapons cost money, and it is Iran’s mullahs who foot the bill for creeps like Muqtada al-Sadr and Hezbollah.
Third, partition Iraq, nipping in the bud the danger of a civil war between the three main factions. Because their territory lies within the no-fly zone of the North, the courageous and West-leaning Kurds have been effectively autonomous since the end of the first Gulf War. Let’s carve out an independent Kurdistan for them.
This will panic Turkey, who fear Kurdish independence would strike the match to the powder keg among their own Kurdish population. Too bad. Think of it as a little Thank-You for Turkey screwing us when they refused to allow us to attack south into Iraq through their territory.
Carve out the Sunni Triangle, where we have most of our trouble from the Saddam/Baathist loyalists. If they regain power and their people are too cowardly to stop them, then there’s nothing we can do for them anyway, is there? But at least we would have prevented the Sunnis from taking back the whole of Iraq, and we would have isolated them in a small Sunni state, let’s call it Mesopotamia.
Next door, a smaller Iraq (though still larger than Sunni Mesopotamia would be) would be ruled at last by a Shi’ite majority. If we are lucky, it would be a secular state (a constitutional state, not based on the Koran). Maybe they would be grateful to us for surgically separating them from their dangerous Sunnite Siamese twin.
True, a Shi’ite state in Iraq would be a natural ally of Iran, where Shi’ites predominate, but it would no longer matter as long as we had brought down the Iranian mullahs. Shi’ites willing to live under constitutional, secular government are not terror-mongering zealots.
So let’s review: if democracy covered the region, prosperity would follow it, and that would remove the helpless destitution that causes terrorism. Overthrowing the regimes of Syria and Iran, not necessarily by full-scale invasion, would remove much of the funding for terrorism as well. Partitioning Iraq between the three major factions would obviate an eventual civil war and reduce the power of each of the resultant states. But they might side with us anyway.
I see all of this as a natural extension of the visionary policies of President Bush, but if Kerry is looking for something to say instead of his usual blank stares when asked about Iraqi policy, he is welcome to my plan.