Let’s Put on a Show!

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.

4 comments… add one
  • TastyBits

    From your quotes: he is able to divine the goals of Russia and China, and since they display no signs of actually having those goals, he must be using goat entrails. He at least qualifies his total ignorance of the Saudi Princes with “should”.

    I suspect that if I were to dig up his past work I would find a body of work consisting of foolishness, and yet, here is another example of one of the “smartest people in the whole wide world”.

    Many 21st century elitists are about to learn that reality cares not a whit about “settled” science, history, economics, or any other theory they have ginned up to recreate the world in their image.

    Tick-tock, tick-tick.

  • PD Shaw

    re Kurds,

    Gertrude Bell once recounted a discussion with an Arab nationalist leader about British plans to give independence to the Arabs, he responded that “complete independence is never given; it is always taken.”

    I don’t know if a landlocked Kurdistan would be a viable state. The assumption that oil would make it so, runs into the problem that the oil fields are in the lowland borders. The Kurds could quite easily secure their mountains (“Kurds have no friends but the mountains”), but probably not the oil fields.

  • Guarneri

    Do the conference attendees show up in blue or red capes?

  • TastyBits

    At the end of the Cold War, history returned from its break. The Middle East and the rest of the world was headed into chaos. It was only a matter of time. It was predictable for those who had studied history from a historical perspective.

    When President Bush invaded Iraq, he dew stabilized a region that was eventually going to be fighting. He is to be blamed for not completing the project he started. If he wanted to stabilize the region, US military bases would be needed for 50 years, but he failed to do this.

    President Obama is not to blame for what is occurring, but his foreign policy philosophy is a complete failure. It has now been proven to be childish and silly. This is his legacy. He has driven the doves to become hawkish.

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