Because the Davos conference has completely fixed the global economy and the many conferences on the environment have stopped human-induced climate change, David Ignatius wants a conference on the situation in the Middle East:
Initially, such an action plan could probably do no more than establish cease-fire lines, aid refugees and empower Sunni moderates against the toxic power of the al-Qaeda offshoot known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. The aim would be to exclude ISIS, not enfranchise it. Those goals are shared by all the regional and global powers. Russia and China (with their Chechen and Uighur Muslim populations) have as great an interest in stopping the super-violent extremists as does the United States. The aging monarchy in Saudi Arabia should want to roll back ISIS as much as Iran does.
We can’t know now whether the post-1919 borders will survive in this new order, or how the different ethnic minorities can be accommodated. The breakup of Yugoslavia shows that ethnic decentralization is possible, but also the potential cost in blood.
The discussions might start with a divisive issue that was on the agenda at Versailles: Should the Kurds have an independent state of their own, or can they be loosely integrated with Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Iran? Nobody knows the answer yet. That’s what crisis conferences are for.
One of my favorite wisecracks: a committee is a group of people, none of whom can do anything individually, who meet to agree that nothing can be done. If the Kurds want an independent state of their own, they can always take a page from the Israeli playbook: stake out a state, say you have a state, and defend it to the teeth against all comers. It might not make your neighbors happy but you’ll have a state of your own.