It’s safe to say President Obama has been a polarizing figure on the American scene. Consider the last few years: proliferating scandals, uneasy citizens purchasing firearms at record rates, while increasing numbers are renouncing their citizenship — ‘leaving the club.’ Not pretty.
But how would Americans of all persuasions react if another world power, or “willing coalition of powers” decided “it’s time for Obama to go,” and set out to make that a reality, with or without America’s consent? Frankly, it might be a good thing for the country as people here rallied together to tell the rest of the world to butt out.
So why do we have the arrogance to believe other nations don’t have similar reactions to our pronouncements about how things should be?
The United States, which withdrew its troops from Iraq in 2011, has said Baghdad must take steps toward sectarian reconciliation before Obama will decide on any military action against the insurgency led by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), an al Qaeda splinter group.
Maliki has so far shown little willingness to create a more inclusive administration.
“The Maliki government, candidly, has got to go if you want any reconciliation,” said U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democratic chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Republican Senator John McCain, speaking in the Senate, called for the use of American air power in Iraq, but also urged Obama to “make it make very clear to Maliki that his time is up.”
How much more blood, sweat and treasure (both American and Iraqi) will our elites spend attempting to hold together what has always been an artificial state imposed by outsiders, with ethnic and religious fault lines the size of the Grand Canyon? Maliki’s time *is* up… in the Sunni areas his policies have repeatedly offended. Since the fall of (Sunni-affiliated) Saddam, the majority Shiites in Iraq have been reasserting power, and in some cases playing the game of “payback’s a *****.” As should be expected, this plays well with Shiite audiences; not so much with Sunnis and Kurds (who just want to be left alone in their own Kurdistan anyway). The ‘sudden‘ gains by ISIS in Iraq are in no small part facilitated by Maliki’s alienation of the ‘out of power’ groups.
That doesn’t mean the U.S. needs to meddle further. Trying to hit ‘reset’ by replacing one Western-sponsored leader with another just prolongs the slow separation (and the violence that accompanies it). If more than one ‘state’ replaces what used to be Iraq on the map, so be it. Trying to prevent such a development was likely always a fool’s errand. The Bush administration used to say the desired result there was a “united, stable and democratic Iraq.” Plenty of regional experts have long held that was a menu, not a mission statement, and in reality it was “pick any two of the above.” We need to give Iraq space to figure out for themselves how they want to structure their society, or it will never know anything but the sectarian violence now occurring. Far too many regions in the world could do a credible rendition of the villains from Scooby Do: “…and we’d have made it work, if it wasn’t for those meddling Americans…”
As a coda, it’s worth noting the mix of Sunni, Shia and Kurd in Iraq makes it, by definition, the highly promoted ‘multicultural society.’ Doesn’t seem to be working out as peace, love and harmony, does it? Something to consider, as many Western nations–including America–rapidly become even more hodgepodge in their ethnic, religious and political makeups. Over the last 30-plus years only two things have worked to unite Iraqis: first, strongman rule by Saddam Hussein (including a disastrous war with Iran the U.S. had a hand in prolonging), and then after his fall, a common hatred of occupation by the U.S. and its partners.
Do we really want to create a demographic diversity dilemma here at home that leads to such outcomes? Would-be strongmen grooming their white horses certainly do…