Obama’s Hands-Off Approach in Iraq Can Work

Conflict clarifies through the necessary dialectical process of inevitable enemies confronting one another. The facade of a “stable government” under Hussein, and the pathetic attempt to make a legitimate leader out of Maliki, were just as chaotic in an ideological sense as current events. “Destabilizing” expansionist, genocidal regimes is desirable.

Despite the disaster that was the Iraq war, and that the ends could have been achieved through other means, and at another time, the subsequent withdrawal of U.S. forces and Obama’s rather cold realpolitik handling of the situation have produced several good things — if you can see past the current dysfunction by noting its necessity — and the President can amend the errors caused by his support of Maliki and Bush’s original blunder.

(1) The absence of a committed American force has left the region open to internal, but inevitable, conflict — conflict that the presence of American force could not, and cannot, ameliorate.

In looking at the stated intent of the Islamic State to expand through the Middle East and more, commentators such as Pamela Geller have replied, ridiculously, “The Obama administration and his seditious party has made this all possible. These savages would have had no shot with a muscular American policy.”  But these savages have no shot, regardless.  Even Hussein, at the height of his powers and with the aid of American intelligence, could do no more than wage a stalemate of a war with the Iranians; and, as recompense for his campaign into Kuwait, the dictator was booted quickly and thoroughly back and further confined to the centre-third of his “own” region by the No-Fly Zones — a region similar to what IS now tenuously maintains.

(2) The “War on Terror” is a global conflict, and nations other than America have an interest in dealing with radicals appropriately, whatever that might entail. America’s unilateral campaign has only intensified anti-American vitriol and forced the people of the United States to bear the cost of a war which, in theory, many other powers ought to be involved in because they would benefit from it.

The relative absence of the U.S. compels local actors to see their stock in the fight. It forces their hand.  Members of the IS have threatened to “liberate” Istanbul, and Iran has sent soldiers into Iraq on the side of the Kurdish peshmerga.  This is not a fight Iran, Turkey, the Kurds, or other powers in the region can shy away from, of course; but the lack of a large U.S. commitment makes this reality more apparent to each.

(3) In regards to splitting the country up, it is reactionary (read: bad) if done with the goal of keeping inevitable enemies apart, especially when one party of the conflict openly states its ambition.  But if what emerges organically is a stable, legitimate Kurdish power capable of defending itself, and likely to be a long-term, democratic friend in the region, then such a product of current chaos ought be welcomed (and it’s been a long time coming).

The less America involves itself, the less complicated the struggle becomes; and the more obvious it becomes who’s who.  Fascism, regardless, provides the arguments against itself and, through time, destroys itself, too. It should be clear to people everywhere who is and is not “good”, and an overly-involved, overly-paranoid America, with much to lose and not much to gain, can only muddle that distinction.

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