Home > History Repeating Itself, Human Limits > The Recollapse of Iraq – That Didn’t Take Long

The Recollapse of Iraq – That Didn’t Take Long

I am going to go out on a limb here and say what everybody already knows.  Iraq is screwed.

Reports of Shi’ite President Nouri al-Maliki’s crackdown on Sunni Muslims, including the arrest warrant for Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi earlier this week, have been coming fast and furious.

Iraq was screwed before we got there, but they are certainly no less screwed now.  One is left to wonder what the thousands dead, tens of thousands wounded, and roughly $1 trillion spent on military operations in the region have amounted to.

The fact is, once our troops crossed the border into Iraq, the seeds of the next violent episode were sown.  Once our troops crossed the border out of Iraq, the seeds began flowering.  Literally within hours, sectarian tensions flared up.  That sure didn’t take long.

But rather than speculate on the who, what, and where of next collapse, coup, or cataclysm in Iraq (and it is coming), I’d like to comment on the sad legacy of colonialism, and the insanity of “synthetic” countries.

Iraq in its modern form makes no sense.  It was drawn on a map somewhere in colonial Europe where cartographers had an affinity for straight edges, and it includes several types of people who hate each other.  And yet, ever since it was created from the whole cloth, major world powers have sought to keep it together.  Why?

Why topple a repressive dictator only to institute a delicate power-sharing scheme doomed to fail?  Why does the country even exist?  Break the thing up, and let self-governance reign.  If Sunnis, Shi’ites, and Kurds all want different things, why insist on keeping a synthetic country in place that would preclude every single one of their goals?

Iraq is not the only country that makes no sense.  (I’m looking at you, India and China.)  One could even make a strong argument against the advisability of the modern United States, sans the federalism that we were supposed to have.  But no one seems to be talking about what might be the best tool of all for self-determination in the Middle East: breakup of ungainly, synthetic countries.

Remember, the greatest manifestation of one’s freedom is one’s right to exit.

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