Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Four Years Ago, Part 3

Well, I haven't been very successful in getting any of you to to talk about the 2003 me, so I'll talk about me. Hey, if you don't do it for the money, you do it for the vanity.

I think I was basically right that "Iraq represents no plausible undeterrable threat to the United States or the world, and certainly not one proportional to the risks and immorality of starting a war." No WMDs were found -- contrary to my expectations of "a few canisters of nerve gas in a basement in a Baghdad suburb." The risks of occupying a Muslim country are now fairly obvious, although I would have expected an attack on the North American mainland by now.

My concern that the new regime would consist essentially of Ba'athists not immediately related to Saddam Huseein turned out to be false. I wrote something a few months later assuing that the Americans would never permit pro-Iranian Shi'ite parties to take power. Wrong on that one.

I am now more inclined to a pretty strict Westphalianism (no war to change the internal nature of other countries). I'd still say that intervention in the midst of an ongoing genocidal massacre is excusable, if not always prudent. By March 2003, Britain and the US had already created a de facto Kurdistan, and I think (and thought) that this was justifiable. Indeed, I would say that by now, the West owes the Kurds some protection.

"The old racist, colonialist line that Arabs are not ready for democracy" looks a lot better today. I don't, however, think this is because of something essential in Arab nature, but sometimes the historic situation makes majority rule and a reasonable amount of liberalism incompatible, and this is one of those times.

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