While entertaining the idea of partitioning Iraq, Scott Walker had this to say:
Walker said many of the current problems in Iraq exist because the United States “backed away” from the country instead of “securing and maintaining the peace that was won.”
“I don’t why we don’t learn from history,” said Walker, pointing to the the longterm presence of U.S. troops in Japan and German after the Second World War.
I know Walker doesn’t know anything about foreign policy, but this is foolish even by his admittedly low standards. If Walker were so keen to learn from history, he might begin with the fact that U.S. forces remained in Japan and Germany after the latter had lost a war that they started. Once the occupation ended, those forces then remained there with the consent of the governments of those countries, which became formal allies of the United States. The U.S. started the Iraq war and occupied the country against the will of most Iraqis. That is one major reason why there were armed insurgent groups attacking U.S. forces on a regular basis, and why there would have been a new insurgency against a residual U.S. presence if Washington had insisted on keeping one there. Most Iraqis did not want a continued U.S. presence after 2011, and some would have violently opposed it. There was certainly no question of establishing a long-term presence or a formal alliance.
This makes all the difference when judging these very different cases. Walker’s argument is a faded echo of pre-invasion claims that the U.S. would be able to do in post-Hussein Iraq what it did in Germany and Japan after WWII, as if the many substantial differences between these countries didn’t matter. Walker talks about learning from history, but completely fails to take into account the very different circumstances of the two periods that he is clumsily comparing. Like most hawks, Walker forgets that the Iraqis get a say in what happens to their country and seems to think that it is just what the U.S. does or doesn’t do that matters there.