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Haass’ Dangerous Proposal for Kurdistan

The president of the Council on Foreign Relations has an idea:

If the U.S. were to do that, it would make a dangerous situation much worse. By “helping Kurds” to resist “Iran-backed governments,” I assume Haass means at the very least providing them with arms and logistical support so that they wage war against the government in Baghdad. Leave aside for the moment how this ignores the political divisions among different Kurdish groups and oversimplifies Iran’s relationships with the Iraqi and Syrian governments, and just marvel at the knee-jerk stupidity of the proposal.

It isn’t clear how far Haass wants this “muscular” policy to go, but it would seem to commit the U.S. to back Kurdish insurgents against at least two governments (one of which we have armed and supported for over a decade) plus Iran and its proxies and probably Turkey as well. This would stoke a conflict that the U.S. should be trying to stop, it would expose U.S. forces to retaliation from some or all of these governments, and it would gain us nothing except an open-ended conflict that serves no discernible purpose except to create mayhem. On top of all that, it would probably improve Iran’s position in the region by giving its neighbors common cause to cooperate with them against a U.S.-backed insurgency.

I doubt that Haass’ proposal will be adopted, if only because I don’t think Secretary Mattis would be stupid enough to endorse it, but it is alarming that this is what passes for clever policy advice from one of the pillars of the foreign policy establishment in response to a new conflict. Less than 24 hours after the eruption of fighting between Kurdish forces and the Iraqi government, we are already hearing proposals from high-profile people to throw weapons at the problem for the sake of hurting Iran. It was the same reflexive “do somethingism” and hostility to Iran that inspired the last five years of disastrous meddling in Syria, and Haass would like to apply the same lousy ideas to Kurdistan as well. I don’t see how this “muscular” policy would be anything but a debacle for the U.S., and it would probably prove to be a nightmare for the Kurds.

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12 Comments To "Haass’ Dangerous Proposal for Kurdistan"

#1 Comment By mohammad On October 16, 2017 @ 8:51 am

it is a cliche now, but let me repeat it: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

or maybe the results are exactly as these people have expected (ie, the destruction of the region), which makes their behavior not insane, but sinister and evil.

#2 Comment By no to this On October 16, 2017 @ 9:16 am

If Haas gets his way, Trump will start a whole new war, keeping the US bogged down in the Middle East even longer and impoverishing us even further.

#3 Comment By Alex (the one that likes Ike) On October 16, 2017 @ 9:43 am

On top of all that, it would probably improve Iran’s position in the region by giving its neighbors common cause to cooperate with them against a U.S.-backed insurgency.

Already. From what I know, Persian and Turkish high-ranking military officials now visit each other on a regular basis. And that’s something, knowing the history of the relations between these two nations.

Amazing. Obama replaces Bush, Trump replaces Obama – and people like Haass comfortably retain their positions and influence no matter who’s in charge.

#4 Comment By Grumpy Old Man On October 16, 2017 @ 9:46 am

It’s a law of history: once a generation, the US must betray the Kurds.

Better we washed our hands of the whole wretched region.

#5 Comment By Crprod On October 16, 2017 @ 10:18 am

Perhaps it’s a 21st century clone of Reagan’s Iran-Contra affair.

#6 Comment By Grumpy Somewhat Younger Man On October 16, 2017 @ 11:25 am

“Better we washed our hands of the whole wretched region.”

I fervently agree, Grumpy Old Man.

#7 Comment By b. On October 16, 2017 @ 12:24 pm

The Grand Unified Theory of US Foreign Policy: We like the profits that come from arms sales.

This is the ultimate self-licking ice cream cone: using crisis and instability to profit from facilitating even more mayhem and destruction. Scorched earth as the organizing principle of Peak Disaster Capitalism. Never let a good massacre go to waste.

#8 Comment By Captain P On October 16, 2017 @ 12:31 pm

Just when you think Trump is the stupidest man in politics, another highly-credentialed representative of The Blob comes along to prove otherwise.

We have thousands of personnel in Iraq and Syria who would be exposed to attacks from Hezbollah and Shiite militias were we to follow the CFR’s advice.

#9 Comment By Anon-og On October 16, 2017 @ 7:12 pm

“Better we washed our hands of the whole wretched region.”

Therefore making it much, much less wretched.

#10 Comment By cka2nd On October 16, 2017 @ 7:33 pm

I actually exclaimed “Oh, My God!” when I read Haass’ tweet, it was THAT boneheaded and stupid. The U.S. foreign policy establishment is just remarkably dumb, ignorant, arrogant and truly, truly dangerous.

#11 Comment By Ray On October 17, 2017 @ 12:32 pm

It’s not stupid, it’s sinister. Then again, expect nothing better from evil.And don’t fool yourselves, the CFR is made up of psychopaths.

#12 Comment By Just_Dropping_By On October 17, 2017 @ 12:33 pm

I’m astounded that someone actually found a away to lower my opinion of the CFR further, but Haass has achieved it….