Monday, November 13, 2006

Monica in Iraqiland

Via the heretik, an article in the Washington Post by Monica Duffy Toft tries to do a little splainin' about Iraq.
Some 3 1/2 years after the U.S. invasion, most scholars and policy analysts accept that Iraq is now in a civil war. But many policymakers have not been willing to face up to the consequences. The key question is how Iraq will be stabilized.

It is an important question, because the stability and prosperity of a post-civil-war state depends in large measure on how the war ends. The fighting can stop in a variety of ways -- by military victory or negotiated settlement. Historically speaking, military victories have been the most common and have most often led to lasting resolutions. So while a negotiated settlement may seem the most desirable end point, this resolution is frequently short-lived even with third-party support.
Monica, right from the get go and while letting us know it is an important question, seems to be advocating a military 'solution'. They are more 'lasting'.
A negotiated settlement is what the United States has attempted to implement for the past two years in Iraq, and it is failing.
Shorter Monica: We've tried and tried. It''s really complicated, we're too nice, but...
Military victories, by contrast, historically result in the most stable outcomes. The reason is that typically a strong faction with a robust military is preserved. In these instances, problems with democratization, governance and political institutions certainly remain, but the state that survives retains its monopoly on the legitimate use of force and is able to leverage that legitimacy to stabilize and institute peace. Only after peace is achieved can issues of democracy, development and justice be dealt with.
Monica: So that's it. Iraq as a nation is done. Look Iraq, thriving after a US invasion and occupation should be easy because we're good, but you didn't want to be nice. Now you're going to get fucked what I call a military victory.
What does all this mean for Iraq's end state? First, it means the end of the state of Iraq as we have known it. Iraq is rapidly disintegrating, and there is no longer anything that can stop the disintegration, save perhaps an invasion by Israel, Iran or Syria. Second, having missed a number of critical opportunities from the beginning of its campaign to topple Saddam Hussein and establish democratic government in Iraq (the latter proposition dubious at best), the United States is now faced with an awful choice: leave and allow events to run their course or lend its dwindling support to one or more of the emerging states.
Maybe Monica has been doing really righteous drugs. Israel, Iran or Syria forward, ho! Why not Borat's legions from Kazakstan?
It is high time the United States and its allies began national discussions about the relative merits of leaving or staying and, if they stay, about the merits of supporting the Sunnis, Shiites or Kurds. Either way, what we now think of as Iraq is almost certainly as gone as what we once thought of as Yugoslavia, and for the same reasons.
By all means, read the whole thing. Blog Simple cannot be responsible for exploded heads.

Frighteningly, Monica has the mad qualifications:
The writer is an associate professor of public policy at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government. She is the author of "The Geography of Ethnic Violence" and is finishing a book on the termination of civil wars.


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