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Kimon
08-08-2014, 01:50 PM
Well, we've started air strikes against ISIS, even if, as yet, in limited fashion. Nonetheless, we have begun, clearly unwillingly, to be drawn back into this civil war. Which begs 2 questions. Can we keep this intervention limited, avoiding sending back in troops? Certainly neither the Iraqi nor Kurdish forces seem capable of standing up successfully against the ISIS forces. The other question is even of more long-term significance. Have we essentially recognized the independence of Kurdistan? The threat to the ethnic Christians certainly also was a factor, but it would seem that it was the threat to Irbil that really forced our hand. The fact that we remained neutral observers so long as ISIS was merely over-running Sunni Iraq, but swiftly moved into action when the Peshmerga seemed incapable of defending the Kurds is somewhat telling. This doubtless is making the Turks quite uncomfortable.

Davian93
08-08-2014, 02:30 PM
There is zero chance that US ground troops will be involved outside of very minimal "advisors"...ie, the SF guys lacing targets for bombs.

We'll arm and fund the crap out of the Kurds but we will not commit ground troops at all.

GonzoTheGreat
08-09-2014, 01:49 AM
Iraq War 3?
Can't be. It was "Mission Accomplished", after all.

Uno
08-10-2014, 05:04 PM
Have we essentially recognized the independence of Kurdistan? The threat to the ethnic Christians certainly also was a factor, but it would seem that it was the threat to Irbil that really forced our hand. The fact that we remained neutral observers so long as ISIS was merely over-running Sunni Iraq, but swiftly moved into action when the Peshmerga seemed incapable of defending the Kurds is somewhat telling. This doubtless is making the Turks quite uncomfortable.

"Iraqi" Kurdistan has been functioning as a de facto independent state for a long time, anyway, and the massive ineffectiveness of the Iraqi central government makes it increasingly futile to keep up the pretension that the region is part of Iraq. If the Kurdish government declares independence, refusing it recognition will be like the absurd the situation with Somaliland. That region is a functioning state, but the world still insists that it's part of the non-existent Somali state.

At any rate, considering the direction Turkey is moving, I'm not sure that upsetting Turkey is something worth worrying about much longer. Time to start looking for a new friend, maybe.

Kimon
08-10-2014, 08:05 PM
"Iraqi" Kurdistan has been functioning as a de facto independent state for a long time, anyway, and the massive ineffectiveness of the Iraqi central government makes it increasingly futile to keep up the pretension that the region is part of Iraq. If the Kurdish government declares independence, refusing it recognition will be like the absurd the situation with Somaliland. That region is a functioning state, but the world still insists that it's part of the non-existent Somali state.

At any rate, considering the direction Turkey is moving, I'm not sure that upsetting Turkey is something worth worrying about much longer. Time to start looking for a new friend, maybe.

Nonetheless, our silly insistence on attempting to claim that Iraq is still a unified state has led to other ridiculous fights, like this one over whether the Kurds have the right to sell their own oil, or whether it all belongs to the corrupt Shia government in Baghdad...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/how-the-us-got-mixed-up-in-a-fight-over-kurdish-oil--with-a-unified-iraq-at-stake/2014/08/04/4a00a6e2-1900-11e4-9e3b-7f2f110c6265_story.html

Davian93
08-10-2014, 08:52 PM
"Iraqi" Kurdistan has been functioning as a de facto independent state for a long time, anyway, and the massive ineffectiveness of the Iraqi central government makes it increasingly futile to keep up the pretension that the region is part of Iraq. If the Kurdish government declares independence, refusing it recognition will be like the absurd the situation with Somaliland. That region is a functioning state, but the world still insists that it's part of the non-existent Somali state.

At any rate, considering the direction Turkey is moving, I'm not sure that upsetting Turkey is something worth worrying about much longer. Time to start looking for a new friend, maybe.

Pushing Turkey, one of the largest, most powerful secular dominant Muslim countries fully into the hands of the Islamists might not be a great idea either...

Uno
08-11-2014, 04:57 AM
Pushing Turkey, one of the largest, most powerful secular dominant Muslim countries fully into the hands of the Islamists might not be a great idea either...

Well, they're going there on their own, anyway, I'm afraid. Besides, pushing secular states into the hands of Islamists is kind of the US's thing, wouldn't you say? Support for the rebels in Syria, overthrowing Gaddafi, stabbing Mubarak in the back. Hell, deposing Saddam Hussein ...

Davian93
08-11-2014, 08:06 AM
Well, they're going there on their own, anyway, I'm afraid. Besides, pushing secular states into the hands of Islamists is kind of the US's thing, wouldn't you say? Support for the rebels in Syria, overthrowing Gaddafi, stabbing Mubarak in the back. Hell, deposing Saddam Hussein ...

And all those moves have worked out so well, so very well...

Dont forget propping up the Shah for decades, overthrowing Iran's liberal gov't in the 1950s, doing the same thing with Iraq in the 1960s to allow the Ba'ath party to take over, etc etc.

Uno
08-11-2014, 08:12 AM
And all those moves have worked out so well, so very well...

For the Islamists they have. What? The US government isn't actually on their side? Oh.

The worst part is that this is so damn predictable that even politicians and pundits should see it coming. If you overthrow an authoritarian government in the Middle East, you're probably not going to get liberal democracy in its place. We all know what you're going to get. It shouldn't come as a surprise, yet to politicians and alleged foreign policy experts it always seems to do just that. Hell, Theoryland predicted it at the beginning of the so-called Arab Spring, and we're a bloody fantasy messageboard.

Ivhon
08-11-2014, 10:56 AM
For the Islamists they have. What? The US government isn't actually on their side? Oh.

The worst part is that this is so damn predictable that even politicians and pundits should see it coming. If you overthrow an authoritarian government in the Middle East, you're probably not going to get liberal democracy in its place. We all know what you're going to get. It shouldn't come as a surprise, yet to politicians and alleged foreign policy experts it always seems to do just that. Hell, Theoryland predicted it at the beginning of the so-called Arab Spring, and we're a bloody fantasy messageboard.

Theorylanders at all points along the political spectrum, as well.

Davian93
08-11-2014, 11:14 AM
For the Islamists they have. What? The US government isn't actually on their side? Oh.

The worst part is that this is so damn predictable that even politicians and pundits should see it coming. If you overthrow an authoritarian government in the Middle East, you're probably not going to get liberal democracy in its place. We all know what you're going to get. It shouldn't come as a surprise, yet to politicians and alleged foreign policy experts it always seems to do just that. Hell, Theoryland predicted it at the beginning of the so-called Arab Spring, and we're a bloody fantasy messageboard.

Well, we were just discussing fantasy obviously...its our forte.

Kimon
08-11-2014, 12:03 PM
For the Islamists they have. What? The US government isn't actually on their side? Oh.

The worst part is that this is so damn predictable that even politicians and pundits should see it coming. If you overthrow an authoritarian government in the Middle East, you're probably not going to get liberal democracy in its place. We all know what you're going to get. It shouldn't come as a surprise, yet to politicians and alleged foreign policy experts it always seems to do just that. Hell, Theoryland predicted it at the beginning of the so-called Arab Spring, and we're a bloody fantasy messageboard.

To be fair, not all foreign policy experts were so blinded by their ideology. Unfortunately the Younger Bush was listening to fools like Cheney and Wolfowitz rather than Scowcroft...

Here's his op-ed in the WSJ before the war:

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB1029371773228069195

Here's a nice article in the New Yorker from 2005.

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2005/10/31/breaking-ranks

This section from the above is quite on point for the dangers of regime change:

Scowcroft believes that the Administration has already gone too far in Kagan’s direction. “Let’s suppose Mubarak disappears and we have an election,” he said. “The good guys are not going to win that election. The bad guys are going to win that election. The bad guys are always better organized. Always. The most ruthless, the tough ones, are the ones who are going to rise to the top in a chaotic society. That’s my fear.”

The Bush Administration does not, as a rule, concede that democratization in the Middle East could lead to a series of Islamist states. One day, I mentioned to Scowcroft an interview I had had with Paul Wolfowitz, when he was Donald Rumsfeld’s deputy. Wolfowitz was the leading neoconservative thinker in the senior ranks of the current Bush Administration. (He is now the president of the World Bank.) I asked him what he would think if previously autocratic Arab countries held free elections and then proceeded to vote Islamists into power. Wolfowitz answered, “Look, fifty per cent of the Arab world are women. Most of those women do not want to live in a theocratic state. The other fifty per cent are men. I know a lot of them. I don’t think they want to live in a theocratic state.”

Scowcroft said of Wolfowitz, “He’s got a utopia out there. We’re going to transform the Middle East, and then there won’t be war anymore. He can make them democratic. He is a tough-minded idealist, but where he is truly an idealist is that he brushes away questions, says, ‘It won’t happen,’ whereas I would say, ‘It’s likely to happen and therefore you can’t take the chance.’ Paul’s idealism sweeps away doubts.” Wolfowitz, for his part, said to me, “It’s absurdly unrealistic, demonstrably unrealistic, to ignore how strong the desire for freedom is.”

Scowcroft said that he is equally concerned about Wolfowitz’s unwillingness to contemplate bad outcomes and Kagan’s willingness to embrace them on principle. “What the realist fears is the consequences of idealism,” he said. “The reason I part with the neocons is that I don’t think in any reasonable time frame the objective of democratizing the Middle East can be successful. If you can do it, fine, but I don’t you think you can, and in the process of trying to do it you can make the Middle East a lot worse.” He added, “I’m a realist in the sense that I’m a cynic about human nature.”

Kind of makes one wish he had been the "VP" instead of Cheney.